We have just enjoyed an incredible wine.
We have been fans of Argentine Malbec since the 80s, when we enjoyed Trapiche by the caseload for less than $60 (for the whole case). Malbec is a Bordeaux variety but it is a minor blending component in Bordeaux itself and among copycats in California. Argentina has justly claimed Malbec as its own, much as Australia has with Shiraz and Chile with Carmenere (and, once upon a time, California with Zinfandel).
This particular Malbec, the Cruz Andina 2006 Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza, is unlike any other Malbec we have had. The wine commands attention with intense aromas of black fruit and judicious oak. It is rich and savory on the palate and has a long, spicy finish. We know expensive Napa Cabernet, and this wine could easily pass for one costing well north of $50. It retails for a mere $20.
Part of the mystery of this wine is explained by the fact that Alvaro Espinoza is the winemaker. Espinoza also has a hand in many of the wines from Chile we have enjoyed so much of late, such as Chono and Alto Sol. Cruz Andina is a project of Augustin Huneeus, who produces the high-QPR Veramonte wines from Chile as well as the much more expensive Quintessa, in Napa Valley.
We are very happy to see this new venture offer so much at so reasonable a price, and we look forward to future vintages.