INSIDER'S PICK: 2018 ZORZAL MALBEC TUPUNGATO VALLEY 'TERROIR UNICO' (Vinous 89points)
We strive to keep the wines we use in the Insider's Picks as varied as possible from week to week, in order to reflect the diversity we represent in the store. We avoid using the same wine twice in the same vintage just because we always have so many things to choose from. Some wines we just can't stay away from as they are so consistent vintage after vintage, so as soon as they change over to a new year they are right back into rotation. The wines of Zorzal are just such wines. Not only are they great values, but they represent a different mindset for winemaking than what consumers usually come across from Argentina. All too often Malbecs from here get characterized by their 'size' and 'intensity', which leads to thicker, heavier, more extracted wines and often a lot of oak aging. Nothing wrong with those types of wines, to be sure (have plenty here we enjoy like that), but it's very limiting to the expression of the grape and the winemaker it that's all you're ever expected to make. Zorzal is part of an importer's stable of wines that looks to break those trends, carrying a large selection of natural Chilean/Argentine wines, a movement that's growing in both participation and quality across South America. To us, this is the ideal introduction into tasting and learning about natural wines as it introduces enough of the principles and flavor characters that mark the concept but doesn't slam you over the head with them.
There's plenty of flavors and aromas familiar to all Malbec drinkers here that everyone will recognize, such as deep black fruits that gain a touch of richness and sweetness as it opens up. But the sweeter tones are more subtle and secondary, not the first and last thing you notice about it. There's no vanilla tones from oak, but it's not missed at all, with a mineral tone that makes the black fruits brighter and even a touch of citrus born from the use of natural yeasts during fermentation (a major component to the natural wine movement). On the palate the fruit is full bodied with plenty of intensity, but the black tones are more strongly pierced with tart berry skins, even a bit of orange and citrus peel, finishing with an almost zesty dry minerality. A wine that can handle big food with big flavors, but isn't overly 'big' in and of itself, able to play well with salty or vinegar-influenced meats as well.
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The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!