I confess to not being a fan of malbec. A grape variety basically abandoned by Bordeaux producers, malbec has found a new life in Argentina. Winemakers here have taken advantage of the soil and climate to turn malbec into something more than a blending grape. And, consumers love its fleshy, fruit-forward appeal — not to mention its affordable price.
How ever my lack of enthusiasm for the grape, I came across an orphan in my wine cellar the other day: a 2010 Vina Cobos Bramere. I left it buried among my Bordeaux for years and decided to open it with the prediction it would be over the hill. It was not. The 9-year-old wine was still chock full of tannins. And, it was delicious.
Had I thought more of its creator and less of the grape variety, I wouldn’t have been so surprised. Paul Hobbs, the mastermind behind some of the most complex and heady reds in Napa and Sonoma counties, is the name behind Vina Cobos. Hobbs has been developing property in the Mendoza region for two decades. If there is anyone who can appreciate terroir’s influence on a wine, it’s Paul Hobbs. Two vineyards in Luján de Cuyo and Valle de Uco produce chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and malbec grapes.
If you like Hobbs’ wines and if you like malbec, the Bramare will open your eyes.