It’s 7pm on a balmy summer evening in London. The work day is over, it’s not raining for once, and to top it all off, it’s the longest day of the year.
I’m pondering over what to do for dinner, and then it dawns on me, there’s really only one culinary event that this type of evening calls for – a barbecue! This will be the first barbecue of the year in my household, so as you can imagine, excitement builds quickly. While marinating the chicken wings, seasoning the grill steaks and chopping up the necessary vegetables, I crack open a bottle of Andeluna 2010 Malbec to unwind from the day and to prepare for the festive evening ahead.
This particular bottle has been hanging out on my wine rack for a few weeks now, and I’ve been waiting for an appropriate excuse to crack it open – we’ll this is it, no more waiting required. Malbec is a perfect match for a barbecue because it’s rich, well-rounded and slightly smoky on the finish – all of which work really well with the variety of meats and grilled delights that are typically consumed at a barbecue.
My Andeluna Malbec is made up of 100% Malbec grapes and hails from Andeluna Cellars in Mendoza, Argentina; the largest and most popular wine producing region in the country. The vineyards of Mendoza produce a wide variety of wines, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, but Malbec is by far the region’s best seller.
I crack open the bottle and give it a little bit of time to breathe before splashing it out amongst myself and the eager guests who have since arrived.
In the glass it’s extremely dark and rich in colour; an inky crimson with a streak of purple when held up to the light. I’m instantly reminded of my favourite summer berries: huckleberry and blueberry. Oh delicious! Scents of strawberry, red currant and cassis are very prominent on the nose, and after giving it a second whiff, so is the strong smell of alcohol. I look on the back of the label to find out that it is a whopping14.5%. Aptly noted! This is definitely a wine to enjoy slowly and with a meal. A couple of long sips reveal a full-bodied wine encased with flavours of ripe wild strawberry, plum, oaky vanilla and black pepper, rounded off with a smoky, tannic finish.
The tannins are quite prominent in this bottle, but I find that it works well against the wine’s smokey aspects and the sweet condiments that I am now dousing my chicken in. If you’re not a fan of strong tannins, leave it to breathe for a little while and they should mellow out a bit. The rest of the bottle went down extremely well with our spread, so well in fact, that we opened a second bottle. Retailing around £9 per bottle, this is a fantastic mid-range wine. It’s versatile, easy to drink and extremely moreish. I’d certainly recommend it for dinner parties, informal gatherings, and of course, barbeque season!
The only thing that slightly unnerved me about my Andeluna Malbec was its background. After doing a bit of research on Andeluna Cellars, I came to learn that it’s currently owned by the Lay Family – the head honchos behind the American corporations Frito Lay and PepsiCo. Now, I’m not anti-corporation, per se, but I do try to buy from the smaller wineries when I can. Have I just supported the McDonald’s or the Walmart of the wine world? I think to myself the next day. A twinge of guilt passes over me for a second, but then I remember how delicious and high-quality the Malbec was. I quickly get off my high horse and go with the assumption that wine this good could only be produced by passionate and ethical people. I’ll give Mr. Lay the benefit of the doubt here! I bought my Andeluna 2010 Malbec as part of a 12-case set, but bottles can be purchased online from Invinity Wines or Davis Bell McCraith.