Finca Los Maza Reserva Malbec

mazaI thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

When I saw the price on the wine I drank last night, I really thought someone had switched the price tag. “This wine cannot be this cheap.”

But it is. The wine I’m ranting about is Finca Los Maza Reserva Malbec 2008, and the quality/price ratio here is crazy.

First, Los Maza comes from Mendoza, Argentina, now the Motherland of Malbec. The grape is native to France, where it was one of the varietals blended to make red Bordeaux. Malbec was brought to Argentina by immigrants, and thrived in the warmer, dryer climate.

Mendoza is like heaven for wine grapes. The Uco Valley, where Finca Los Maza grows its fruit, has a desert-like climate and sits at somewhere around 3,600 feet elevation. This cools the temperatures and creates a dramatic difference between daytime and nighttime temps,  allowing the fruit to develop structure and complexity. The sunlight is also more direct, ensuring that grapes will fully ripen, and snow melt from the Andes mountains provides plenty of water to irrigate the vineyards. The result, according to Juan Tonconogy and Alex Campbell, is “intense wines with great personality and quality.”

Alex is the third generation of the family that planted vines here close to a century ago. Juan and Alex’s new company has acquired additional vineyard sites, and blends grapes from different lots to achieve the style they’re looking for.

For me, their style is all about power. But it’s power with depth and elegance to back it up. I saw the power as soon as I poured my glass. The color was purple/garnet and opaque, suggesting plenty of extraction. I cheated and looked at the technical notes, and sure enough, these grapes enjoyed 30 days of maceration. Trust me, that’s a lot!

The nose offered berries on steroids, with dark fruit, vanilla and maybe a shot of espresso.

But the palate blew me away. I tasted rich, powerful dark berry fruit with plenty of depth and concentration, followed by chocolate and vanilla that lingered on the finish. There was also a purity that I liked: the structure and acid kept it from sliding over into jammy or blocky. I guess that’s where the power and elegance meet and marry.

So my guests and I (they also enjoyed the wine plenty) were playing the, “How much do you think it costs?” game. I was hoping for $20, but realizing that it could run closer to $25.

Good thing I didn’t bet on that, because I would have lost big. Los Maza Reserva Malbec goes for $12. Yes, $12! This is insanely good wine for the money. And it’s a versatile wine. You could drink it with tangy cheese, grilled meats, red sauce, or beef, beef, beef the way the Argentines do.

However you plan to drink it, just grab a bottle. Or two. Or three. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers!



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