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Bodegas Esmeralda (Argentina) "Argento" Malbec 1999
This wine is from Nicolas Catena, considered by most to be Argentina's brightest star in winemaking. Malbec is also Argentina's ace in the pack: nowhere else does the grape reach such perfect ripeness and make wines of such opulence. Widley grown in southern France, it can have a brooding, tannic beauty, but here it marries that to lush, gamy fruit. This has a vivid purple colour and a nose that wafts crunchy berry and plum, gravel and earth, and a smouldering oakiness. On the palate the wine is impressively concentrated with a viscose, almost syrupy mouthfeel, but then smooth tannins bite and the bittersweet edge of chocolaty dark fruit grips the mouth. Wonderfully lush and full, this finishes with moderate acidity, drying tannins and balance that suggests it should cellar for a year or two.
UK Stockist: Thresher/Wine rack/Bottoms Up £4.99 (08/00)