Years ago, Robert Parker – yes, that Robert Parker – wrote that one day we’d all be drinking inexpensive malbec. Which means I’m still looking for the good ones.
The problem with malbec is that the Argentines, who make most of it, haven’t quite figured out how to make a $10 version that offers value in the way that New Zealand winemakers have figured out how to offer value in $10 sauvignon blanc. There are plenty of fine $20 and $30 malbecs, but not nearly as many at $8, $10 and $12. Most of the cheap malbecs that are in stores are too fruity, and the fruit is about the only thing they have to offer.
The Graffigna (about $13, available at Cork) doesn’t have this problem. It’s an impressive wine — not flabby like most inexpensive malbecs, and with some structure and enough blackberry fruit and tannins to be interesting. Drink this on its own, or with any sort of homey beef dish.