You might not expect it from the name Malbado, a take on ‘malvado’, the Spanish for ‘the evil one’, but this is a silky and elegant Malbec with a captivating perfume of violets, pure, precise fruit (especially blueberry and plum), a mineral inflection, a touch of spice and fine tannins.
It comes from Ugarteche, a small sub-region lying on the southern fringes of the Lujan de Cuyo region at an altitude of around 900m, which is high by global standards but about average for Mendoza, and it’s made by Santa Rita Estates in collaboration with Dona Paula winery.
So far, so normal, but the wine's back story is a bit quirky. The vines are growing in an old Pinot Noir vineyard that was planted in 1975 but which turned out to be a bit of a dead loss because production was so low.
In 2000, with the vineyard set to be pulled up, there was a last ditch attempt to reinvigorate it by cutting off a few vines at the trunk. New shoots grew, but they turned out to be Malbec, which had been used as the rootstocks for the Pinot Noir. The shoots were so healthy and vigorous that the next winter they cut down 12 hectares. These distinctive Malbec vines now produce Malbado.
You could do the usual thing and match this to a steak, but I’d go for a fillet steak rather than a more rumbustious T-bone or tomahawk. It would also go well with duck, or pork or lamb chops, but it certainly doesn’t need to be meat. It was a good match for home-made hummus, which suggests all sorts of pulse and vegetable possibilities. 14.5%
Malbado Malbec 2019, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
£12 on offer until 7 August, then back to £14, Asda