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01 September 2007

Malbec Made for Meat

An equally mouth-watering, determined-to-upset-vegetarians contest brought to you by Wines of Argentina in conjunction with Wine & Spirit magazine, the Hotel du Vin & Bistro Group and Gaucho Restaurants. The plan? The blurb says: "Malbec Made for Meat is a UK quest to find the Malbec or Malbec-based wine from Argentina that best matches traditional British meat dishes." Sounds like a fun idea. They've held three heats in Glasgow, Harrogate and Brighton (well done for getting out of London too); and the final will be held on 12th September at Gaucho's W1 restaurant. By the way, apparently the average Argentinean eats 68kg of beef per annum!
At the first heat, tasting Malbecs with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at Hotel du Vin & Bistro in Glasgow’s West End, one of the judges, wine writer Tom Cannavan, commented that "the wines drunk with the beef generally worked well, and the first and second placed wines really worked in harmony." The heat winner was Bodegas Catena Zapata Malbec 2004, from Mendoza (Majestic £10.99); and runners up Masi Tupungato Paso Doble 2005, Mendoza (Oddbins £8.99); Co-op Argentine Malbec 2006, San Juan (£2.99); and Asda's Argentine Malbec 2006, La Rioja (£3.78).
In Harrogate, the meat was roast lamb with 'all the trimmings'. "For anyone who thought they'd mastered Argentine Malbec," said judge Joe Fattorini, "this tasting revealed what a chameleon grape it is, turning from brooding and burly to aromatic and balletic with the lift of a fork." Heat winner was Familia Zuccardi Q Malbec 2004, Mendoza (Alliance Wine RRP £9.99); and runners up Fincas Patagonicas, Tapiz Malbec 2005, Mendoza (Hispa Merchants RRP £5.99); Bodega Mendel, Unus Malbec 2004, Mendoza (Prestige Agencies RRP £19.99 or Handford Wines); Bodegas Catena Zapata Alta Malbec 2004, Mendoza (Bibendum RRP £29.99); Bodegas Salentein, Malbec 2004, Mendoza (£8.49 Tesco); and Bodegas Valentin Bianchi, Malbec Particular 2003 (Liberty Wines RRP £9.99).
The Brighton tasters stuffed their faces with roast pork while trying these wines: heat winner Dona Paula Malbec 2005, Mendoza (Oddbins £9.49); runners up Bodegas O Fournier, Alpha Crux Malbec 2004, Mendoza (Seckfords RRP £19.99); Bodega O Fournier, Urban Uco Malbec 2004, Mendoza (Seckfords RRP £5.99); Gougenheim Malbec 2005, Mendoza (Las Bodegas RRP £6.99); and Bodega NQN, Reserve Malbec 2004, Neuquen Patagonia (Hispa Merchants £8.99). Interesting to note they're not all expensive posh wines that were picked by the judges. Anyway, call back in September for an update on the winning wines or check out winesofargentina.com.ar. Posted 1/08/07.
Update Sept: Bodega Catena Zapata’s Alta Malbec 2004 "took top spot as the wine to have with meat" in the gripping carnivore final, which took place at Gaucho's in Piccadilly, London, and was also deemed the 'Best with Lamb' wine. The Viña Doña Paula 2005 Malbec replicated its regional success winning 'Best with Pork'; but in the hottest contested category, Gouguenheim Malbec 2005 and Catena Malbec 2004 "proved impossible to separate" and so both won the 'Best with Beef' award (the most important, you would've thought given the Argentinean penchant for beef).

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