2016 Colomé, Malbec, Salta, Calchaquí Valley, Argentina. £17.49 at 19 branches of Waitrose, WaitroseCellar.com
I don’t find myself writing up many top-end Argentinian or Chilean reds. I went to a tasting the other day where every single one of the South American, “huge points” red wines were on tasting and they were, without question, some of the most unpalatable and unbalanced wines I have tasted in a long while. Adored by some critics, the stench of oak and the heat of alcohol, coupled with monstrous extraction and parched tannins don’t make me unclip the big scores from my score-belt and hang them off these palate-choking behemoths.
All the more reason to highlight a wine which did attract a heady score in my scribblings and which is also £50-£100 cheaper than the aforementioned frighteners. Made from three super-high-altitude vineyards (La Brava 1,300m, Colomé 2,300m and El Arenal 2,600m), this is a spectacular wine and one which trumpets all of the joys of the malbec grape in one glass.
Using only 20% new French oak in the mix, for a 15-month period, this wine backs off anything which would tip it out of perfect balance. If you only buy one South American wine in the rest of 2018, make it this thriller. It is drinking now and it will, I hope, show you what a genuinely seductive and accurate big red should, to my mind, taste like.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).