Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Malbec World Day with the Hess Collection, Colomé, & Amalaya

"Malbec World Day" or "Malbec Mondo" as English speakers prefer to say is celebrated on April 17 to commemorate the day back in 1853 when Argentina's President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento officially made it his mission to transform Argentina's wine industry.  He asked Michel Aime Pouget, a French soil expert, to bring over new vines from France and amongst Pouget's selection, was Malbec.  In the following years, the Malbec varietal flourished in Argentina's dry, and sunny weather, particularly at high elevations.  Today, Malbec is Argentina's star varietal.

Here we are for Malbec World Day 2019 and I received a trio of Malbec samples from the Hess Collection portfolio, specifically from Bodega Colomé and Bodega Amalaya. The wines are produced in the Calchaquí Valley in Salta, Argentina. The valley has altitude - from 5,500 ft to over 10,000 ft above sea level - making it one of the highest viticulture regions in the world. This high altitude provides intense daytime sunlight and cool nights that help better retain the acidity and concentrated fruit characteristics of the grapes.

Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in Argentina and home to the highest vineyards in the world in Salta's Calchaquí Valley. The winery was established in 1831 when the vineyards were first planted on original rootstock imported from Bordeaux -- and these vines are still bearing fruit today.

Bodega Amalaya wines began as an experiment at Bodega Colomé in order to find alternative sourcing and varieties for Malbec and Torrontés blends. Donald Hess instructed his researchers to seek an area where no vines had ever been planted the workers labeled the quest using the Inca expression Amalaya meaning 'Hope for a Miracle'.

Amalaya Malbec 2017 ($16)
This is a fresh and fruit forward blend of 85% Malbec, 10% Tannat, and 5% Petit Verdot that will be gone before you realize.

Colome Autentico Malbec 2017 ($30)
The ‘Authentico’ Malbec is made from 100-year-old Malbec vines planted at over 7,000 feet. It is a textured and plush wine with dark intense fruit, both chocolate and vanilla, with a long silky finish.  This is an elegant wine with power.

Colome Estate Malbec 2016 ($25)
The fruit for this wine derives from the  Colome Estate vineyard as well as from the El Arenal, La Brava and Altura Maxima vineyards. It comes across with more dark fruit blackberries with bits of earthiness, tobacco, and spices. It also has more of a tannic structure providing enhanced aging potential. If only I had the patience.

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