2019 Bodega Piedra Negra Malbec “Reserve – Organic”, IG Los Chacayes, Uco Valley, Argentina (Alcohol 14.5%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO Vintages $21.95 (750ml bottle)

Argentina have been producing some of the best value wines in the market for some time now, but in the last decade we have witnessed a most welcome improvement quality-wise. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the wines were all lacking in that department, it is just that in more recent years we have seen a fascinating degree of refinement and polish come through on so many of these bottlings, particularly those in the $18+ range. Vintage after vintage the improvements in both viticulture and vinification are becoming very much apparent in the glass, and this offering from Lurton’s Piedra Negro is a perfect example of this country’s exciting winemaking evolution.

I’ll be honest here and tell you that my palate is rarely aligned with that of wine critic James Suckling, but I do feel that he’s on the right track with his consistently improving scores of this Reserve Malbec sourced from the Los Chacayes IG in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Upon tasting it last night I was extremely impressed by both its rich fruit character and its finesse.

Pouring an attractively dark ruby colour in the glass, the bouquet is multilayered, with a raspberry/blackberry fruit core wrapped in warm oak spice, cloves, cracked black pepper, mocha, and a touch of black olive. There’s less of the floral aspect going on here than in some of my favourite Malbecs, but the nose stands out in its own right regardless.

I found the sweet black cherry attack most pleasing, coupled with just the right playfully acidic balance to align with all that dark ripe fruit. The judicious oak integration is seamless and fits ever so snugly in there. The mid-palate is weighty and immensely satisfying, with some rich, ripe tannin action to keep your palate’s attention. The enjoyably extended finish continues with some wood spice and salty black liquorice/Pontefract cake hidden in there… and I do enjoy my Pontefract cakes.

This is a really solid bottle of wine, and excellent value at $21.95. It is also quite remarkably free of any rough edges, a stylishly complete package.


(Four out of a possible five apples)