Graffigna – 2008 Centenario Reserve Malbec

Malbec just seems like the right thing to drink when the leaves start to turn and the winds turn chilly.  We opened this wine for a casual evening at home – no frills – just to relax.  The aromas of red and purple fruit were very noticeable, and very nice, and warmed up a bit with just the tiniest bit of earthy tobacco.  The first sip was pleasant, with deep black cherry, a little spice and a touch of tobacco.  The alcohol was contained, despite the moderately high content (14%).  This wasn’t a highly complex wine, and the body and finish were both moderate, but all in all, not bad.  A nice value for the money.  It went very nicely with Istara Ossau-Iraty cheese and spiced green olives.

Bodega Norton – 2009 Malbec Mendoza Reserva

I just love the anticipation of a deep, dark red on a chilly evening.  I do enjoy malbec, with its depth and intensity.  I opened this wine to discover aromas of red fruit and plum, but a few unexpected notes as well.  A definite spice was in the air  – the cinnamon and eucalyptus unfolded within just a few moments of that first swirl.  I took a sip to find that the alcohol overwhelmed my tongue at first – not entirely unexpected with its 14.5% .  I found that after a few minutes, and several swirls, I was able to move beyond my first impression and found a rather lovely wine.  The tannins were pronounced and firm, and flavors of dark currant and plum danced together with spice.  The finish was fairly long, and let the ever-so-slight acidity leave my mouth watering.  I enjoyed this wine with a seared burger and side salad dressed in an intense fig balsamic, and the match was perfect.