A slick, statesman-like red

2011 Susana Balbo, Signature Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (£12.95, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com).

I get a little bit of flak in the wine trade for being tepid about the wines from South America. It’s true that I write up many more wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa than Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. It is my taste, after all, but there is something else.

I find that the wines, particularly the reds, tend to be heavy-handed, over-oaked and often too alcoholic. In short, I cannot comfortably finish the bottle let alone reach for another one!

Having said that, there are a load of star estates which I buy for my various restaurant lists, and when they make it onto the retail shelves, I always let my readers know.

I have been a fan of Susana Balbo’s wines since she started exporting them to the UK. This 90% malbec, 10% cabernet sauvignon blend is the finest wine I have tasted from her winery.

The use of 80% new French oak for only 13 months makes this wine glossy and slick and, while the flavours are undoubtedly huge, they never overstep the line.

This is a beautiful, statesmanlike red and it is a world-class malbec incarnation – if you are a waiverer, too, it will no doubt change your mind.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).

Merryn

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