As temperatures rise, our wine columnist John Kelman of Rutabaga turns his attention to big fruity reds.
While we get the weekend off to a sizzling start, many of us will no doubt be firing up our barbecues to make the most of this glorious weather.
This week we’re taking a look at juicy, plummy fruit-forward wines from Mendoza in Argentina, which spring to mind when we discuss and quaff Malbec these days.
In the same way that Marlborough in New Zealand has become synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, the Malbec grape variety has lots to offer.
During our wine journey, expect to find more sophistication from Cahors, France, a bombastic Australian and cooler Chilean styles, too.
A positive for the consumer at the moment with suppliers now unable to see their wines in hospitality venues across Scotland in the coming weeks, more quality is reaching our shelves.
And where there is good quality, there is usually an abundance of quantity, too, which is great news for those of us looking to bag a unique bottle or two.
Within this fortnight’s pick you’ll find well-known labels, new world favourites and classic old world vines. There’s a mix from the UK’s biggest supermarkets, as well as local independent wine retailers that showcase the variety of what can be enjoyed on a budget in the middle ground, and as a treat that we are all deserving of at the moment.
Perfect for BBQ season, its time to discover the whole new world of Malbec’s.
Yellow Tail, Malbec, SE, Australia, 2019– 13.5% alc./vol.
A young wine with plenty of lip-smacking spice and bursts of dark berries. Pair it with some delicious Aberdeen Angus or Moving Mountain vegan burgers cooked up on the barbecue or grill.
£6 for a 750ml bottle from Tesco
Rigal, Malbec, Cahors, France, 2018 – 13% alc./vol.
Bottled for Tesco’s finest range from the traditional home of the Cot (Malbec) grape variety, this big-berried wine goes perfectly with some seasonal local venison.
£7.50 for a 750ml bottle from Tesco
Casillero Del Diablo, Malbec, Chile, 2019 – 13.5% alc./vol.
A well-known label from Chile, the round cherry notes would work great with some cheese. A favourite of mine at the moment is the Isle of Mull’s Hebridean Blue from Scriob Ruabh Farm.
£8 for a 750ml bottle from Tesco
Zurriago, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019 – 13.5% alc./vol
A well-rounded entry level Malbec with a wee touch of spice. Enjoy it with some easy-to-make midweek pasta and relax in the summer sun while doing so.
£8 for a 750ml bottle from Sainsbury’s
Santa Julia, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019 – 14% alc./vol.
The first of the two Zuccardi wines, its dark savoury style would sit nicely alongside a Highland ribeye steak which you can sip on away while enjoying the tender beef.
£9 for a 750ml bottle from Sainsbury’s
Magna, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2018 – 14.5% alc./vol.
A high altitude but not in attitude, this well-rounded cherry-rich and sustainable wine would pair perfectly with a thick rump steak. Make sure it has been well-rested and cut against the grain to really impact those delicious notes in the wine.
£15 for a 750ml bottle from Sainsbury’s
Chateau Pineraie, Malbec, Cahors, France, 2015 – 13% alc./vol.
Soft oak and vanilla from the historical home of Malbec. Spoil yourself with some fillet of beef and end of season asparagus which has been lightly grilled when enjoying this fruitful number.
£12.95 for a 750ml bottle from Wine Raks
Don Nicanor, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2018 – 15.5% alc./vol.
A big wine in volume but subtle in flavour, its stunning peppery notes will go well with barbecued ribs on the bone and a serving of sweet grilled corn on the cob.
£16.95 for a 750ml bottle from Wine Raks
Domingo Molina, Malbec, Salta, Argentina, 2017 – 15% alc./vol.
An elegant Argentinian wine, it is soft in colour and also on the palate. Best enjoyed its own, treat yourself to a glass of this after a long shift on the barbecue.
£21.95 for a 750ml bottle from Wine Raks
Man Meets Mountain, Malbec, Mendoza Argentina, 2018 – 14% alc./vol.
Just a touch of oak treatment, it boasts subtle tannins. Pair it with a lightly charred onglet (hanger/ skirt) steak and add a touch of roasted garlic butter to really bring those flavours out.
£8 for a 750ml bottle from Rutabaga
Nostros Reserva, Malbec, Valle Del Bio Bio, Chile, 2018 – 13.5% alc./vol.
A southern Chilean Malbec boasting flavours and notes of quite soft dark fruits, you’ll want to try this wine out with a dark chocolate torte and seasonal local berries.
£9 for a 750ml bottle from Rutabaga
Crocus L’Atelier, Malbec de Cahors, Cahors, France, 2014 – 13.5% alc./vol.
A wonderful wine from south west France, this is a more savoury style and can be best to be enjoyed with some braised beef and silky buttery or olive oil mash. It it also very enjoyable and is well worth trying out.
£18 for a 750ml bottle from Rutabaga
When not scribbling down wine-tasting notes, John Kelman can be found hosting virtual tastings at www.rutabaga.co.uk