“That was an adult wine” said my wife as we cleared the table after a leisurely meal. I knew exactly what she meant – and it was nothing to do with the sort of movies to which the same adjective is often attached! No, it was a wine (and this is going to sound very snobby, but it’s not meant to) for sophisticated palates; not one for easy quaffing with lots of up-front fruit, but one with real depth and intensity – although not at first taste. Decanting helped, of course – I’d say it was essential – but even then, it took some time to open up and really show all it had to offer.
The wine in question was Mascota Vineyards Gran Mascota Malbec (Great Western Wine, £14.50) from the Uco Valley, one of the most exciting parts of Argentina’s Mendoza region. Here, vineyards are planted between 1000 and 1700 metres up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains (3300 to 5600 feet, if you prefer). The altitude gives the wines a wonderful balance between ripeness and acidity and, in good hands, as, clearly, at Mascota – a new name to me – can produce something really special. As the evening wore on, the wine revealed lovely flavours of blackberries and cooked plums with vanilla, cinnamon and smoke from the 18 months in French oak barrels. All this came together beautifully with a long savoury finish. It’s a wine to sit and enjoy, preferably with a tasty meal and some good company.
The Italians have a marvellous name for this sort of wine: they call it a Vino da Meditazione. Literally translated, that’s a wine for meditation but, really, they mean a wine that encourages you to linger, to sit and chat and put the world to rights. Or, as my wife said so succinctly, an adult wine.