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94-Point Red for Under $12 - "One to Buy By the Case" - 04/04/2017 - Argentina

For under $12, this has everything going for it. It comes from a producer we adore, achieved huge worldwide press from Decanter, Wine Advocate, and Spectator, and is one of the best values you'll find from anywhere for a complex and detailed wine at an everyday price.

Decanter's 94-point mark is huge and elevates it among some of the great releases from the regoin. Wine Spectator's "smart buys" designation speaks volumes to what we found in the glass when we popped this beauty. And Wine Advocate? Luis Gutierrez had trouble fitting enough praise into the kind of detailed review that is usually reserved for the wine world's elite. We find ourselves in the same situation as you'll see from the reviews below. Make sure not to miss out on this singular release from one of the great wineries in Argentina and beyond.

Staff Image

2015 Amalaya Malbec Salta ($11.99)

94 points Decanter: "Impressive purity of perfumed fruits, with blackcurrants, boysenberries, cherries, plums and leafy notes. Very expressive mouth, full, juicy and fresh with polished fine tannins, high structure and pure black fruits. Refined, distinctive with a lovely personality."

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level wine is called 2015 Malbec, even if it still has some 10% Tannat and 5% Syrah in the blend. 2015 saw 140 liters of rain, healthy grapes and good levels of acidity. The grapes come from seven-year-old vines that yielded 9,000 kilos per hectare, 100% from estate grapes. The grapes fermented with neutral yeasts after a four-day cold soak with a total maceration of some 20 days. 25% of the volume matured in used French oak barrels for ten months, while the rest was kept in stainless steel with fine lees. There is a smoky character that I believe comes from the skin of the grapes, which have a high impact from the sun-as with the higher altitude, the rays are much stronger and make grapes develop thicker skins. It made me think of a red from the Northern Rhône, mixing violets, bacon fat and great spiciness. They have replaced Cabernet by Tannat, and I think it has helped remove the herbal aromas and given more character to the blend. The palate is medium-bodied with great freshness and intensity, terribly tasty. This is so easy to drink, it can be dangerous... One to buy by the case, and great for by-the-glass. (LG)" (12/2016)

90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A fleshy red, with concentrated blackberry and dried blueberry flavors supported by fresh acidity. Mineral and dark chocolate notes linger with hints of white pepper on the finish. Drink now through 2020. (KM)" (11/2016)

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 30, 2017

I have always been a huge fan of the wines from Salta. This high altitude climate produces some of the most distinct and flavorful Malbecs from anywhere in the world and that's coming from the guy who focuses on the French Malbecs from Cahors. Amalaya is one of the great producers from Salta as well and this perfumed, floral style has beautiful high tone black and red fruit flavors. Great texture and smooth polished tannins make this one distinctively beautiful red and one of the best values from Argentina.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 28, 2017

Subtly savory on the nose and black-fruited though the palate, Amalayas 2015 Malbec is somehow both easygoing and structured, thanks to its 10% Tannat and hit of smoky Syrah. Its as juicy as youd want a red from Argentina to be, but with the fresh acidity and polish that makes wines from high-elevation Salta shine. A bright, quality option for Malbec fans at a price too good to pass up.

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 26, 2017

Malbecs from the northern Argentine region of Salta are a little rarer than those from Mendoza, and it's therefore a real treat when we get our hands on it. This offering from Amalaya shows a wonderfully complex profile of restrained black fruits: cassis, plum, and black cherry, all tempered by spicy, zesty herbs, bitter cocoa, and savory meatiness. Less fruit-driven and more structured than its Mendoza cousin, Salta Malbec will pair beautifully with your next rib eye or a rustic Bolognese.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 21, 2017

This is exactly what you want in an easy-drinking weekday red. Malbec is known to be a very approachable varietal, and appeal to a number of palates, but you can certainly run across some poor examples of the grape. Here you have beautiful, quality fruit and fantastic wine making, resulting in an effortless, silky, red fruited wine that feels quite clean and carries just a hint of pepper spice to add to the depth of the wine.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 21, 2017

There is something about Colome's Malbecs...they are not standard fare Malbecs. They almost seem to suggest the northern Rhone as much as Argentina. It surely has a bit to do with their elevation and intense sun exposure (for this wine, vineyards lie at 5,900 feet above sea level). The stony, calcareous soil is also part of the picture, as is winemaking. Regardless, however, the important take away here is that this wine has no business selling for under $15, let alone under $12. There is way too much savory, meaty, purple fruited complexity on the nose, too much presence, intensity and length on the palate. A good amount of calcareous driven salinity as well on the finish. This is fantastic wine, one to load up on for sure if you are a fan of Malbec, the Rhone valley, or just great value in full-bodied reds.