Hey man, this Malbec ain’t bad.
I got a bottle a few months back from a chap under Brighton station, who assured me that the only way to drink Malbec was with a big, fat steak. With a little white pepper ground into it to really work the tannins.
I did as I was told, and it was definitely a combination that worked. So much so that I took an hour to finish the plate, caught up in rapture thanks to the glorious alchemy of wine and medium rare meat (which I rarely eat, which only added to the excitement).
Problem was, the wine in question, a 2010 bottle from the small La Chamiza winery in Mendoza, Argentina, was just too young, taught and muscular to be enjoyed on its own, sans steak.
However, my bottle of Polo Amateur (‘a spontaneous and lively game’ according to the website) must pale in comparison to La Chamiza’s more pricey Polo Professional (‘a vibrant and touching game’), seeing as it was apparently recently served by Michael Barrymore in an episode of Channel 4 dine’em’up Celebrity Come Dine With Me. So check that one out if you’re feeling flush.
More versatile was Urban’s Malbec, from the Uco valley, again in the Mendoza region of Argentina. A year older, it’s aged for three months in French oak barrels before being unleashed on an unsuspecting populace.
Deep dark purple and rich in berry fruits, it has that classic taut Malbec quality tempered by a subtle oak that smooths the edges and brings depth and richness to a quiet strength which could verge into the austere. It’s a big flavour but medium bodied, slippery but with some chewy tannin.
At 14.5% I’d prefer it weaker, and the high alcohol content threatens to overwhelm the delicate balance with a warming sweetness very evident on the finish, which gets a bit syrupy
But it is a decent finish, with a dose of brambles and spice, and a savoury leather texture that settles itself calmly on the tongue.
Lots of fun, and no steak required.
The Polo Amateur was about a tenner from St Martins Vintners.
The Urban bottle is £8 at Elwood Wines.