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Majestic Malbec [Aug. 28th, 2017|12:34 pm]

Friday night's 'masterclass' tasting at Majestic was of malbec - allegedly an immensely popular grape, but it had only tempted in five people (the fact that it's a bank holiday weekend may have had something to do with this). Inevitably, this justified opening fewer bottles than usual, and our wine guru for the evening (Paul? not Mike, who has previously filled that rôle, anyway) whizzed us through the five wines pretty briskly. If these notes are sketchier than usual, put it down to that: some of the new world wines were pretty high in alcohol, we were knocking them back, and we realised that if we just cashed in our vouchers and ran, we could catch the bus before the one we usually get. So once again, I departed without tasting notes, and this is from memory.

The five wines were: one French, one Australian and three from Argentina, in that order.

The French wine was Rigal's L'instant Truffier - not a Cahors, but from a Cahors producer. Pity not to include the thing itself, the original malbec, and although that would have raised the price, I'd have thought the budget could be adjusted elsewhere. I suspect they just don't stock any. Anyway, this was not popular: "Very French!" said someone, and this clearly wasn't praise. I thought it was fine - good tannin, enough fruit, needed to be served with food (various tasting aids were provided, and it went well with the pork scratchings) - but not spectacular.

The Australian was, I think, this First Class Malbec from the Clare Valley: the most complete contrast possible (I suspect the tasting order was 'let's get the randoms out of the way and move on to Argentina'). I could retaliate by saying it's "very Australian". I could nurse a glass through an evening at a poetry reading, say, and enjoy the big, bright, upfront fruit - but I wouldn't serve it with food (I suppose you could set it as a jelly and serve it as dessert). Other people's mileage varied spectacularly.

I could make a stab at reconstructing which three Argentine wines we tasted, but guesswork would be involved, so let's just say that the first one was unmemorable, and the third was a big hit with the other participants, but I thought it didn't justify the additional price (and had a bitterness on the finish which I didn't much like). The one I enjoyed, bought to take home and would buy again, was Parrilla, a classic, well-balanced wine.

We also bought to take home what appears to be the joker in the pack: when I searched Majestic's website for French malbec, it didn't tell me about the La Baume Grande Olivette (that's weird: nor does the producer's website, and for a while I wondered if it had come from somewhere else - but no, search for it by name and it appears! Anyway, lovely, juicy, new world style malbec but with good structure, I'd have to taste it alongside the Parrilla to be sure which one I preferred, but that wouldn't be a hardship.

We're unlikely to make the next couple of sessions (chardonnay and sparkling wine, neither of which attracts me enough to make up for the less-than-ideal schedule). But I'd go again if the right topic came up at the right time.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.