Toca Madera Winery - 2016 Malbec review
Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, Malbec has most of its planting in Argentina, in the Mendoza region in 2011 represented 86% of all the Malbec plantings in Argentina. In the United States, the majority of Malbec is planted in California, which in 2011 accounted for 84% of the Malbec plantings in the entire country, even though 84% of the Malbec plantings are in California, only 0.5% of all red grape plantings in California are Malbec. In order words, while California has most of the Malbec in the United States, they have extraordinarily little compared to more “traditional” red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
If Malbec is one of those wines people hear about, but often don’t take the opportunity to try… now is the time! This grape used to be mainly blended into Bordeaux blends, but now wine lovers are enjoying Malbec as its own varietal. If you’re just now becoming familiar with Malbec, it is good to know the difference between a North America Malbec and a South American Malbec. As Malbec is not widely planted in the United States, and again you will find the majority of the plantings in California.
One of the most well-known and largest wine regions in South America is Argentina, specifically the Mendoza region, which produces mainly Malbec grapes. While both California and Argentina have regions with the perfect climate for growing these dark-skinned grapes, which love warm days and cool nights, there are distinct differences between the wines from each region. For example:
California Malbec Wines
Vines and Irrigation – Newer plantings that use drip irrigation.
Sugar and Alcohol – Lower alcohol and sugar levels. Average alcohol content 14.2
Characteristics – Aromas of dark berry and earthy flavors.
Argentina Malbec Wines
Vines and Irrigation – Aged vines on their own root system. Flood irrigation used instead of drip.
Sugar and Alcohol – Higher alcohol and sugar levels. Average alcohol content 15.3.
Characteristics – Aromas of red dry fruit, dark berry and jam flavors and sweet taste
Let’s take a look at our featured wine, Toca Madera Winery 2016 Malbec
This 100% Malbec comes in at 12.5% alcohol, lower than the average for most California Malbec’s. The grapes were destemmed and crushed in ½ ton vats for 9 days and aged in a variety of 6th to 8th fill French Oak. The wine has a pleasing ruby hue. This Malbec is quite different in a pleasant savory way. As you finish looking a swirling your glass of 2016 Toca Madera Malbec you detect ripe berry that quickly fades to a light herbal nose with tamarind. I was incredibly surprised at the nose at first. I took my time with this glass of red and have decide that this wine, in my opinion, would pair really well with a marinated portobella mushroom burger, a juice hamburger off the grill, or just about anything you pull of the grill. The tannins are soft and supple. I believe that the wine maker Shayne Vetter has done a good job of producing a Malbec that expresses where and how it came to be.
Toca Madera just recently openned again for out door tastings by reservation per with current health precaution and regulations. In addition, Toca Madera is providing free local deliveries for the Madera and Fresno areas for orders online or if you call in. Check with them for details as this arrangement could change along with health regulations for the counties and the service offered.