Portillo Malbec Bodegas Salentein (Majestic)

Argentine Malbec is not without an army of fans. The Argentinians took this grape, native to the area around Cahors, near Bordeaux, and left the winemakers of Cahors wondering how to match their standards. The opulence, richness and charm of well made Malbecs leave me puzzled about just one thing. Why isn’t the army of fans even bigger?
Enough time spent pondering that question though, let’s have a look at this offering from Majestic. Decanter reckon it’s the best Malbec you can buy without spending more than £10. Not one of the best, the best. That gives it a lot to live up to, and despite worries that the unusually tall bottle wouldn’t fit in my wine fridge (worries which fortunately proved unfounded), I thought it had to be worth a go.
It turned out to be a relatively simple wine for one that’s so highly regarded, and one that’s not particularly cheap. But actually, it flies the flag for simplicity, and it flies it well.
The nose and palate are all about ripe, juicy and dark fruits, principally plums and blueberries. Swathes of them. There’s no oak, or at least no discernible oak, and that may well be a good thing. It could easily have just served as a distraction from that glorious fruit. There are some tannins, but they’re gentle and they understand that they’re not welcome to hang around too long. The level of acidity is on the low side, but high enough to make it a refreshing drink.
There is one last element that goes into making this wine delicious, and that’s the texture. It’s wonderfully smooth and voluptuous, the trademark of Argentine reds, and it complements the ripeness of the fruit flavours perfectly.
It never occurred to me to pair this wine with food: it’s so good to drink on its own. But now I’ve reflected on it, I might be tempted to try it with a desert based on dark chocolate, as long as it’s not sweetened so much.
At the (recently increased) price of £10.49, this is good value. But knowing Majestic, they will more often than not give customers the opportunity to buy it for significantly less than that. And where that’s the case, it has to be considered excellent value.


Tom BradfordPortillo Malbec Bodegas Salentein (Majestic)

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