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K&L Staff Recommendations
2012 Luca Malbec Uco Valley $29.99
The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good dark red. Musky aromas of redcurrant, cherry, coffee, plum and cedar, plus hints of game and leather. Supple and on the soft side, with good texture and a hint of rusticity to the broad plum and leather flavors; more red fruits than black. Finishes with a touch of sweetness and easygoing tannins." (3/2014) K&L Notes: Pascual Toso is based in Maipú, an historic, sun-drenched winegrowing region just southeast of the city of Mendoza. Their Malbec is a standby of the section for its supple, juicy red and dark fruits - solid Malbec for a very solid price!
93 points Wine Spectator: "#19 Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2014!! Very suave and polished, with ripe, pure flavors of blackberry, hoisin sauce and black pepper. Finely textured, this is packed with tar and roasted plum notes, showing plenty of licorice snap and dark chocolate accents on the powerful finish. Best after 2020." (2/2014)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Malbec comes from old vineyards in La Consulta and a dash from Gualtallary in the Uco Valley. It has a mineral-like, austere feeling, with notes of peach, sour cherries, and sweet spices, a medium-bodied palate with gripping tannins, and ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A fresh, balanced and harmonious red with cherries, berries and hints of nutmeg character. Full and super integrated with fine tannins and a long, flavorful finish." (7/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. Sexy aromas of blackberry, huckleberry, violet, mocha and nutty oak. Suaver and sweeter than the Signature Cabernet, with juicy, fruit-driven black plum, blackberry and violet flavors framed by harmonious acidity. Boasts excellent precision and inner-mouth tension for a wine in this price range. Finishes with a firm tannic spine, sneaky length and a hint of minty ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: ""A beautifully layered red with dark chocolate, berry and light vanilla character. Full body plus ultra-fine tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Delicious now."" (7/2014)
The Llama is 100% Malbec sourced from 101-year-old vines grown at an over 3,300 foot elevation. It is hand-harvested, and half of the wine is aged in French oak and half in stainless steel before bottling. From the winery: "This wine embodies the distinctive spirit of our vineyards, spanning the foothills of the Andes. Llama is a rich ruby-purple color, and boasts elegant flavors of black berries, ripe plum and robust spices with good balance and structure."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "With a warm nose of plum and blackberry, this sports a juicy, wiry palate, with woody weight. Raspberry, plum, toast and leather flavors finish earthy and lightly baked, with leftover oak that needs to be absorbed." (5/2015) James Suckling: "An attractive wine with blueberry and lemon character, a medium body and a fresh finish. A little lean but delicious." (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Broquel Malbec is a smoky, serious, aromatic, ripe yet elegant style of Malbec, with clean flavors of cinnamon-coated black cherries, fine tannins and good freshness to balance the high alcohol. It is e ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Malbec from Perdriel, the only young wine he sells, is a fresh, serious Malbec mixing notes of ripe fruit, tobacco, pollen and honey with very good freshness, clean and pure flavors, sweet tannins and length. No fireworks, just a great young Malbec. Drink now-2017. I had the chance to taste the wines of Carmelo Patti with his importer in Madrid and also visited his small winery in Mendoza. Patti is an old timer, a no-nonsense winemaker who lives wine and is really enthusiastic about wine culture. His production methods are really traditional, ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Wonderful nose of dark fruits, dark chocolate, spices and hints of graphite. Love the subtle aromas. Full body, with extremely integrated tannins. Wonderful length and refinement. About one-third new wood. Fabulous. Drink or hold." (6/2014) K&L Notes: While they also produce an entry-level bottling as well as an elite high-end bottling, it is this flagship estate wine that represents the soul of Bodega Mendel. A stellar value, this overachiever is sourced from 85-year-old, ungrafted vines and is truly handmade. Grapes are manually sorted and vinified in small lots be... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "This is so floral on the nose with hints of citrus. Full bodied but lightly silky with a very tangy, juicy character. Very fruity and delicious. Drink now." (8/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "There's an enticing floral quality to the cherry, plum and wild berry flavors, with juniper notes midpalate. Features plenty of fresh acidity, with a complex, minerally finish that delivers hints of hoisin sauce. Drink now through 2020." (3/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright red-ruby. Aromas of crushed dark berries and kirsch are lifted by a cool violet topnote. At once dense and juicy, with brisk acidity framing the ...Read More »
Produced from fruit grown in the Las Compuertas section of La Consulta, this is delicious Malbec for a very affordable price. Fresh red plum flavors and a juicy, forward texture suggest balance due to some thoughtful winemaking: fermentation and ageing in concrete tanks. Delicious (and gluggable) Malbec! (Joe Manekin, K&L South American wine buyer)
91 points James Suckling: "A soft and balanced red with round tannins and juicy fruit with chocolate and berry character. Drink now. Drink and love Malbec - from Consulta and Vistafores." (6/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "This is dark, with a racy edge to the cassis, crushed plum and raspberry notes, gliding along a full-bodied frame. Hints of cream and mocha balance the tannins on the finish." (11/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Q Malbec is sourced from La Consulta and Vista Flores from stony, sandy and calcareous soils in the Uco Valley. Part of the grapes are fermented in full clusters and only a part of the wine goes to b ...Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby-red. Aromas and flavors of bitter cherry and bitter chocolate are complicated by a whiff of game. Silky-sweet and supple, with beautifully integrated tannins contributing to an impression of suavity and carrying the fruit through a rather powerful, gripping finish. This should evolve gracefully. (ST)" (2/2015) K&L Notes: Produced from biodynamically farmed Malbec, with some Tannat blended in as well, this wine is produced from some of the highest elevation vines in production anywhere in the world, at more than 7,000 feet above sea level! Dark fruit flavors... Read More »
A blend of 97% Malbec with 3% Tannat, this Cahors is sourced from 30-50 year old vines planted in calcareous clay. The vineyard yields a modest and concentrated crop of grapes which are sorted before pressing and given an extended, temperature-controlled maceration to extract the best of what the fruit has to offer. The wine then spent 12 months in 50% new oak barrels before being bottled.
Roberto Rodriguez Canal, part-time San Francisco resident, is one of the partners in Platense wines, the company who produces Aleph and brings it to market. According to Roberto: "We do not produce wine to please mass demand. Our wines are not over-extracted and definitely not over-oaked, we produce limited quantity of wine with its own character." The Aleph name is a tribute to a short story penned by the great master of fiction, Luis Borges. Fruit is sourced from Lujan de Cuyo, the traditional home base for Mendoza wine country's historic bodegas as we... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe, almost sweet, fruit is full of delicious black plum and berry flavors. The wine is rounded, opulent and generous to a fault. A solid core of darker tannins hold all this richness together. Drink from 2015." (3/2015) K&L Notes: These days, when you think of Malbec you often think of Argentina. But Southwestern France's Cahors appellation is the ancestral home of this black grape, situated in the high country (Haut Pays), equidistant from the Atlantic, the Pyrenees, and the Mediterranean. It is drier than Bordeaux or the Languedoc in fall and distinguished by its... Read More »
This is exactly what we have been waiting for - Malbec in a box! Maipe produces wonderful Malbec and we have carried a few of their wines. This version, when recently tasted showed all the wonderful purple fruits you expect in a Malbec, with no discernible influence from oak. Just rich, but balanced and fresh darker fruit flavors. At $9.33 per liter, and given the bag in box's ability to preserve a wine's freshness for much longer, we are huge fans fo this one! (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean and Argentinean wine buyer)
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Crios Malbec is aromatic and fresh, with notes of violets, ripe plums and a touch of brown sugar, quite showy, with the profile of a cool vintage, the sweet tannins of the Malbec, some sweet spicy flavors and good length. This is very good value. Drink now-2016. (LG)" (4/2014)
From the C2 block of the estate's Marchiori Vineyard in Perdriel, which is about 3000 feet above sea level. This single plot bottling features 80 year old ungrafted vines which produce particularly small berries of intense flavor.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Located between the towns of Tunuyan and Tupungato in the Uco Valley, Bodegas Hinojosa has somehow been flying undar my radar until quite recently. This is a terrific everyday red, offering plenty to like for both those experienced and new to Argentinean Malbec. Bright purple-fleshed fruit flavors are generous and wondefully fresh, a hallmark of the 2011 vintage. Soft, supple, vibrant fruit, hints of baking spices, perhaps a touch of candied violet. For $15, there is indeed a lot to like in this bottle of wine. (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean & Chilean win... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Stolen Horse Old Vine Malbec is from the five hectare 'Stolen Horse Vineyard' populated by vines planted in the 1920s. Where does the name come from? When Santiago was looking for a vineyard, he instantly knew that this had to be the one. He tried negotiating a lease with the owner; however, it was not possible because someone had stolen the owner’s horse that was being used to farm these old vines. The good news is that the horse was eventually returned and Santiago managed to arrange a lease. Raised entirely in new oak, it has an intense, head ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
This is a terrific new Chilean Malbec we recently tasted. Yes, you read that correctly, Chilean (not Argentinean) Malbec! Tunquen is a cool project. A couple of Brazilians named Atilio and Mochi, both passionate wine folks, desigined a winery out of an insulated container they chose to locate on a beach near Valparaiso. Their Malbec is utterly delicious and while it shows the juicy, expressive darker berry fruit of Argentinean Malbec, the acidity is more marked and there is an appealing wild side to this as well, all while retainining a refreshing relati... Read More »
99 cases produced
96-99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Bramare 'Marchiori Vineyard' wines are from 100% estate grown fruit located in Lujan de Cuyo. The 2006 Bramare Malbec 'Marchiori Vineyard,' tasted from a barrel sample...is even better than the 2005. Vintage conditions were ideal and, for the first time, Hobbs stopped irrigation 12 weeks before harvest, most unusual in Mendoza's arid conditions. There was better natural acidity with little acidulation required. The wine offers more flavor complexity, vibrancy, and aromatic lift, and sensational length.The Bramare series is sourced from Lujan de Cuyo, ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Crios means offspring (as in children). Susana selected a word to express the notion that these are wines that haven't quite 'grown up' to the same level of maturity as her more expensive Susana Balbo signature label wines, but they receive the same loving care and attention throughout the winemaking process. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image inspired by a Mayan artifact. The three hands represent Susana and her two children.
Finca Abril owns about 20 hectares of vines, primarily Malbec, with some planted as early as 1922, all in the area around La Consulta (Uco Valley). Richly fruited, with darker berry flavors that create a lush mouthful of wine that still feels honest and balanced. A great Malbec for the money! (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentine wine buyer)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Atamisque is the first property you will see upon entering the Uco Valley from the north. Run by Loire Valley native, Jean Edward, who was instrumental in establishing Chandon's Argentine operations in the 1970's, Atamisque is making a very good range of wines from their own vineyards. This Malbec comes from 80 year old vines growing on two separate vineyards in the Uco Valley. A nose of rich, macerated black cherries is intense, nearly pungent, and leads to a palate of big juicy fruit, but with surprising freshness as well. Subtle savory tones and a hin... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Intense mineral and berry aromas show class and touches of mint and resiny wood. This feels crisp, electric and drawing, while flavors of graphite, mint, raw oak, vanilla, plum and raspberry run onto a lightly herbal, medium-length finish. Drink this tightly wound, fresh young blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot now through 2020." (5/2014) K&L Notes: Despite this wine's lack of naming creativity, we can assure you that this blend of Malbec, Cab, Merlot and Cabernet Franc is at least "premium" quality, and actually even better than that! Spicy kirsch aromas... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
96 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal red with beautiful texture and finesse yet dense and concentrated. Full body, with very fine but intense tannins and a bright fruit. It goes on for minutes. All about fabulous texture. Decant before serving. Drink or hold." (6/2014)94 points Wine Spectator: "Dark but nicely driven, with lush blueberry and fig sauce notes carried by broad spice and anise flavors. Long and lush through the graphite-filled finish, without the raisined edge of the vintage just pure fruit that sails on. Really stretches out in the glass. Very impressive. Drink now through 2015. ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City