We've been happily aboard the refurbished malbec bandwagon since it rolled out of the mountains and foothills of Argentina a few years ago. It's still gathering speed, with new labels showing up regularly. Among them is Areo Malbec 2009 (about $15 at supermarkets and liquor stores), a luscious example of the breed from way down south in Argentine Patagonia.
The onslaught of big but nuanced fruit begins at first sniff, with grapes, raisins, blackberries and a bramble edge roiling out of the glass. On the tongue this wine is big, round, voluptuous, with all the fruit and bramble promised by its bouquet spiked with a bit of clove and some nice dark chocolate notes around the edges. It is nicely structured and its finish is full and lingering, hints of black pepper and black tea chiming in right at the very end.
This thoroughly satisfying medium-bodied red will go beautifully with a variety of cheeses, from soft ripened to fresh chevre, and would be the perfect companion to a pork roast stuffed with dried apricots and prunes.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.