April 22, 2024

Colome El Arenal Malbec 

Who makes it? 

Colome El Arenal Malbec is a high altitude red from the Upper Calchaquí Valleys in Argentina’s Salta region.  Colome has a very long history dating back to 1831. The Hess family are the current custodians of some of the oldest vines still producing grapes for wine in the world.  

Of course, Malbec has been embraced by the Argentinian wine producers. It is however the grape from South West France. And it is one of those allowable in the Clarets of Bordeaux. Nevertheless, it comes into its own in the region of Cahors. 

How do they make it? 

The Upper Calchaquí Valleys vineyards are 2600 metres above sea level. In other words, these are some of the highest in the world. El Arenal is the name of the single vineyard that produces this 100% Malbec. The red has spent 12 months in French oak plus an additional 6 months after bottling to meld together.  

The high Andes altitude means that the grapes have plenty of sunshine to ripen those grapes. The crisp and chilly nights keep the acid high and those nights extend the ripening period. This produces a generously concentrated wine.  

What does it taste like? 

The El Arenal leaps with purple vibrance in the glass. There is no mistaking that it is Malbec. The aromas are heady with warm cooking spices. Nutmeg and vanilla abound support the plum and raspberry fruit. All enhanced with a pinch of black pepper. It is elegantly proportioned with a fuller body and smooth tannins. On the finish, this red takes on a earthiness but the lasting impression is of blackberry, plum and nutmeg. 

What to drink it with? 

Colome El Arenal Malbec is a great match with roast meats, or a slow cooked stew. Rich meaty dishes such as a ragu would be good too. If you wanted to match vegetarian dishes, the best would be heavily seasoned and roasted or grilled.   

Cheese 

The best cheeses for matching a bold red such as this are hard matured cheeses such as Manchego, Gruyere, Gouda or a truffle flavoured cheddar. You might find Stilton a good match too.  

Quickie review « Single vineyard Argentinian Malbec is hard to say no to, this one is very good. » 

Country of Origin:  Salta, Argentina 
Tasting Date: January 2024 
Price:   £50 | USD$65 
Drink: now – 7+ years  
Needs food: no 
Source: tasting 

Visit colome for more. 

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