The Vigneview Verdict
Ask any wine professional, winemaker or viticulturalist what differentiates a good bottle of wine from a great one. Chances are, the word ‘terroir’ will be mentioned more often than not. So, what exactly is terroir?
Terroir is basically the countless variables that contribute to a wine’s sense of place. Everything from the soil-type, seasonal rainfall, slope, aspect, climate, micro-climate, degree growing days, clonal grapevine selection etc…are all factors that directly affect the grapes which in turn directly impact the final wine. Terroir is the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of the wine world because it embodies everything that can’t quite be easily quantified, simply explained or definitively conclusive when describing a wine.
When I saw this bottle of Don David Blend of Terroirs Malbec in my local Coop store, I just had to try it. The fact that ‘terroir’ is on the label really grabbed my attention. Winemakers who consider terroir and the impact it may have on their final wine, in my books, are approaching their winemaking on a more holistic level. Basically, the grapes are not an isolated entity…everything leaves its mark in the winemaking process! Additionally, this is a Fairtrade wine…So, at £9 a bottle, I just had to give this Malbec a try.
This bottle of Don David Blend of Terroirs Malbec is made using grapes from two different altitudes within Argentina’s Calchaquí Valley, which is high-altitude region located in the northwestern Salta Province. When grown at higher elevations, Malbec develops incredible complexities and elegant nuances, as noted when I tasted Bodega Colomé’s Malbec wines which are from the same region. The fact that this Malbec is a blend of two different terroirs, simply enables the winemaker to add more depth to the wine. Eager to get tasting, I popped the corked and poured myself a glass!
A glorious deep, redish-purple colour filled my glass, along with aromas of fresh violets, stewed red plums, black cherries, blackberries and cassis. I also detected a little bit of vanilla as well as a smokey, tobacco note from 9 months of oak ageing. Honestly, this wine was ticking all the boxes right from the start.
On the palate, this wine continued to delight the senses. Further flavours of blackcurrant, a bit of menthol and a subtle peppery spicy note accompanied smooth tannins and an uplifting, flavourful finish that lingered.
The range of complexities found within this wine are a clear indicator of diverse terroir. Without these variables, this wine, just simply put, wouldn’t be as interesting. I’m just loving the fact that this Malbec is all about the terroir!
I highly recommend enjoying this bottle of Don David Blend of Terroirs Malbec alongside a leg of lamb well-seasoned with mint and other fresh herbs.
Producer: El Esteco Bodega, Don David
Region: Calchaquí Valley (Salta Province)
Colour: Deep Purple
Red fruit: Stewed plums, black cherries
Black fruit: Blackberries, black currants (cassis)
Oak: smokey tobacco, pepper and a hint of vanilla
Drinking Window: Drink now or keep until 2026
Price: £9 (Coop)