Co-op Argentine Malbec San Juan: A red wine with the chillax factor

I’ve been trying to get my act together as I head towards some massive wine exams in about three weeks’ time.  I have loads of stuff in my head, and in a supporting role, a fair bit of wine in my glass (and occasionally an Argentine malbec).

Sometimes life shouts out “take a back seat” or “chillax” (well maybe not that exact term, I don’t know anyone who says that).

The reason why we’re here

I picked up this Co-op Argentine Malbec San Juan on the way to collect the doggie from the doggie minders (her second mum) the other day. It had been a LONG day.  I needed simplicity in my life. To be honest, I needed a b****y glass of wine.

Then, about 30 minutes later, as I was sipping away,  I remembered that I used to write these little snippety review things for you. Just a bottle of wine. The basics. And all that.

So that’s why we’re here.  I want to be organised and share the love again.

Co-op Argentine Malbec review
Co-op Argentine Malbec

Co-op Argentine Malbec San Juan 2018

What is it:

It’s an Argentine malbec, funnily enough! The clue is in the name.

Where’s it from: 

The San Juan region.

I’ll tell you some more: 

San Juan nestles in the shadow of the Andes, to the west of Argentina. Over on the other side of the mountains, Chile makes its linear stamp on the world.  The San Juan capital lies 90 miles north of Mendoza.

You can find out lots more here, at the Wines of Argentina website, but I’ll summarise.

San Juan is the second biggest grape and wine-producing region in the country; there are five valleys in the region, all growing vines. It is a region which many believe has the capability to produce world-class wines.

The grape: 

Malbec goes hand in hand with Argentina, even though its origins are  in Bordeaux. The grape was brought over to Argentina in the 1800s. It quickly established itself.  Malbec accounts for almost 40% of the planted red varieties in Argentina.

What it says on the vin

Ok then, the bottle notes. There’s lots going on here, not just on the colourful front label, but also the back.

We’ll stick with the front for now and …
“Intense and rich, bursting with flavours of raspberry and plum. The perfect partner with steak or spicy sausages.”

It’s a wine which has a lot to say for itself, because on the back the enthusiastic marketeers say:
“Dark, dense and polished, this sexy blend of depth and vivacity has a mix of sweet blackberry and boysenberry fruit laced with incense and cigar box. The long, intense mineral finish lets violets and lavander [sic] notes shine through.”

 All that packed into a bottle of wine and a spelling mistake thrown in.

A swivel and a swirl and a sniff and a sip … 

So does all that lavish praise stand up to scrutiny. There’s no doubt the label shouts out “vivacity”. To recap, I bought this as a weekday wine, as solace to help me relax. It did all of that.

The first night I tried this, I was having sausages (because the dog gave me that “I need sausages” look). She ate hers before the addition of gnocchi and spicy tomato sauce as she wouldn’t have been too enamoured with that combo. However, this wine was.

It is a full-bodied wine which tickles your nose with raspberry and pepper;  some plums too. I thought a bit harder and there’s some dense dark fruit down, down deep. It has a fair zap of acidity, dashed with pepper but not a huge amount of fruit. The spice is the lasting legacy in the mouth.

It’s such an easy sip to sip; I’ve dashed these words off while watching Manchester City thrash Watford in the FA Cup Final (only City fans will be happy about that).

The remaining wine will see me safely into the start of Eurovision.  I haven’t grumbled, I’ve just relished the pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine without having to concentrate too hard.

The small print

Co-op Argentine Malbec San Juan is 12.5% abv.  It’s available in many Co-op stores (tap your postcode in the link)  and I bought two bottles for £10 (in May 2019).   The wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

 

 

Fizz Face-off: I compare Asda’s sparkling £5 Progrigio and a same price cava

cava fizz

If you’re a regular in Asda you might have noticed that the retailer has brought out a new sparkling wine to catch the attention of prosecco drinkers.

The sparkling wine world is increasingly popular in the UK but very crowded. Every time a butterfly flutters its wings, a new sparkling wine is born, each one trying to take a piece of that marketplace.

 Progrigio (£5, 11% abv) is Asda’s new sparkling wine and I’m told that it is “a unique wine that blends the effervescent versatility of the bestselling sparkling wine grape in the world, glera, and the classic full flavours and crisp acidity of the wine which has become a worldwide symbol of Italian winemaking, pinot grigio”. I know this because I read it here at Progrigio.com.

What do I think of it? I’m making life difficult for myself with a mini- Scientific Experiment.

I was in Asda a couple of days ago and spotted a cava, also for a fiver. I love cava and think it’s massively overlooked by fizz lovers.

I bought Marques Del Norte Cava  (11.5% abv) and challenged myself to a fizz-off with these two wines.  I’ve given points out of 5 on bubble strength, aromas, the taste and overall impression. Yes. I’m sitting on the settee doing this right now on my own. Call me sad.


Progrigio:

Bubbles
Well it has bubbles – 2 marks.
Aromas
Apples, grapes, a hint of flowers but also something plasticky
– 2 marks
Taste
Mouth-watering acidity but fruit flavours disappear very quickly leaving a tinny aftertaste  –  1 mark

Overall impression – 2 marks


Marques Del Norte:

Bubbles
This cava enjoyed being poured – 3 marks
Aromas
Cava is made in the same way as champagne which means there’s aromas of fresh apples, citrus, and newly-baked buttery bread – 3 marks
Taste
Apple, a touch of caramel (like the edges of a crispy apple pie); the juiciness retains some flavour after you’ve sipped – 3 marks

Overall impression – 3 marks


I’ll leave you to do the sums.
(Because I’ve never been very good at sums.)