Posted on Jul, 31. 2012 by Evan Williams
We’ve not been around for that long, but I feel like we’ve definitely found a nice rhythm with a familiar handful of wines…and bringing back new vintages of old favorites (provided they live up to the old standards, of course) is something that brings us a sense of excitement and satisfaction…much like building a vertical in your cellar. It’s not often, because estates sometimes fall off the map or just go in different directions than what we’re interested in bringing to the table, but when it does happen (as with the Mondesir), it just feels right.
Cue the 2011 Familia Mayol Malbec. We offered the previous vintage last August, and it was understandably a huge hit (with many coming back for refills). Well, we’re always on the lookout for good Malbec…but, to be honest, it’s not easy. There’s no shortage of South American Malbec, as it seems to be the easiest varietal to get to produce passable juice in large quantities down there. We’re looking for something more, though: a more pure expression of the grape, without fanfare, too much adulteration, and certainly nothing that breaks the bank (because, in South American wine tradition, oftentimes the more it costs, the more extracted, alcoholic and opulent it is).
Will originally wrote the offer for the 2010, and I loved that wine, but somehow never really got to spend enough time with it. The 2011 brought it all back home for me, though. It’s undeniably Malbec, but there’s something else that screams “northern Rhone Syrah” flitting around the periphery. It’s a meaty wine at its core, a lot to chew on, a lot to savor (spicy cigar box, stewed cherries, and faint autumn smoke), but it’s almost like this is cool-climate fruit (and it’s not…this comes from a frickin’ desert!) That aforementioned ripe center is draped with a restrained, cool sleekness…and that’s what really sells this wine for me. Anyone who’s had steely blueberry-laden Côte-Rôtie knows what I mean. And what else…it finishes with a perfect punch of acid and lingering earthiness.
As Will said last year (see the original 2010 offer below; we both independently came to “cool climate fruit” in two separate vintages, for what that’s worth), this is a model of consistency, focusing on a particular (particularly intriguing and enjoyable) style, and doing that style well, for a steal. Fans of Malbec need look no further; fans of restrained, composed, yet expressive everyday reds also should pay close attention.
From the first time around:
Heirloom tomatoes with feta, fresh herbs and steamed green black eyed peas. Chicken roasted with garlic and herbs over a small fire. Slow cooked pork, spiced and lightly smoked. Young summer squashes sauteed in butter with fresh thyme. The final mowings. The cool breezes on a hot dry day with the whir of cicadas chanting in the air. It is August and these are a few of my favorite things.
I am drinking Malbec because I found a Malbec that is fantastic for these things. We have featured Argentianian producer Familia Mayol many times here at the Guild as they continuously produce wine at every level that is both exciting and new. The 2010 Malbec has been loaded with juice from the top vine holdings of the estate and is one of the finer everyday priced Malbecs I have come across.
There is a firm but easy tannin to the wine with cleanly expressed varietal fruit. Mature structure and bright fruit tones evoke an almost Mediterranean style with a cooler climate clarity. Old world in style, which is to say the fruit is in no way overdone and the focus overall seems to be pointed towards nuance and charm, words seldom used for the great black grape. All of this and lacking nothing in power, this is a food friendly Malbec that is drinking perfectly right now, something to be gulped on its own on outdoor porches and an inspiration to grill many wonderful things.
Gather together with some friends and make certain you have had your fill of all the flavors of summer, fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh light goats cheeses, mozzerellas and fetas. Grilled fishes, roasted chickens, fresh herbs, loads of the freshest olive oils and garlic and plenty of top quality grilled steaks. And above all make sure you have the right wine, in almost any case it will be this Malbec.
An exciting new find from a consistent Estate.
Retail Price: $17.25