The Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2014 is sourced from 2 sustainably grown Estate vineyards located high in the Andes foothills of the Uco Valley in the southwest Mendoza region of Argentina. The Uco Valley is considered to be one of the prime Malbec growing areas in Argentina. The vineyards are 3,500 to 4,500 feet above sea level and the advantage to high altitude grape growing are the intense sunlight that is available for most of the year, most of the pests and diseases that plague grapevines do not thrive this high up. And the intense sunlight warms the days, but the mountain climate cools the nights, giving the grapes a full and lengthy growing season (the longer the grapes have to ripen, the more complex the grapes become). This Malbec is aged in a combination of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd use French oak barrels for 12 months (oak barrels impart a little less oak influence with each use and are consider neutral by the 5th time they are used. So, a combination of barrels are used to get the exact oak flavors the winemaker is looking for). The alcohol content is stout 14.3%.
The color, well there is definitely some purple going on here, deep, rich, dark purple. The nose is blackberries, licorice, toasty vanilla, a light sprinkle of spice, along with roses. This Malbec is smooth upfront with some excellent structure on the mid-palate. It tastes of blackberry, a little fudge brownie, raspberry, and black pepper. The mid-palate shows exotic spice, a slap of vanilla, plum, and tobacco. The tannins dance around the edges, they are there, you feel them, but don’t taste them. This Malbec is well-balanced, concentrated flavors helped out by a solid thread of acidity that runs thru the wine. The finish is subtle and slowly fades away.
The Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2014 is a very good Argentinean Malbec, now here is the best part. This is a bottle that would usually sell for $15 to $20, but since 2015 is newly released, the 2014 is selling out for $9.99 (at least in several shops in the Chicago area). This is a top-notch Malbec and the price can’t be beaten. This is the time of the year (beginning of February) when shops start discounting last years vintage to make way for the new vintage. Keep a sharp eye and an open mind and there are bargains to be had.