Enjoy the generosity of 80% Malbec combined with the finesse and roundness of 20% Merlot. -Kermit Lynch
I can’t argue with that. I appreciate the simplicity, and I appreciate Kermit’s ability to find value in a country where that can be difficult. What I didn’t expect was to find such a buzz surrounding this affordable little blend. The Wine Spectator scored this particular vintage 90 points, as well as awarding it a 76th spot on the Top 100 of 2009. This is a big deal for a $14 wine. My next research stop was a website called CellarTracker.com. It hands-down provides the most extensive database of user-contributed wine reviews on the web. The concept of CellarTracker is simple: inventory your cellar or personal holdings, catalog tasting notes, and interact with other wine drinkers.
Despite this wine’s solid standing in the eyes of the Spectator, I wasn’t surprised to find a major split between the lovers and haters, or dislikers, rather—that would be more appropriate. Ironically, I found myself easily agreeing with aspects of even the most divided reviews.
“83 points. Color of pickled beets in the glass.” Yes.
“83 points. Had a nose of pepper and band-aids.” I can see that, also.
“91 points. Great minerality. The flavor was intense and pure.” No doubt.
“90 points. A tremendous value, this wine seems to embody the dichotomy of the appellation.” I concur, and would expect nothing less from Kermit.
“83 points. This just doesn’t rate for me.” Hmm.
“92 points. Probably one of the best inexpensive wines I’ve ever had!” Are you confused yet?
Like most people, my thoughts about this wine fall somewhere in the middle. Center-right perhaps. I enjoy this Malbec’s dark, deep, somewhat secretive nature. Tannins are brief, the mouthfeel is juicy, but not sweet—especially at first. Substantial mineral presence, herbal undertones, and a vastly smooth cocoa finish. Heavy inky and graphite notes, like touching your tongue to the tip of a pen or pencil—take your pick, the resemblance is there for both. The finish is lengthy, built somewhat on secondary flavors, there is kind of a vacancy to the fruit. I would give this wine another try—an hour decant would ensue first.