The Restivo Malbec Reserve 2010 is sourced from vineyards near the town of San Patricio Del Chanar, in the Province of Neuquen in the North end of Patagonia, Argentina. Most of the Argentinian Malbec on the store shelves are produced in the Mendoza region about a 1,000 miles north of Patagonia. The Restivo Malbec is named after the owners of its parent company, Biagio Cru and Estate Wines, but this label is not listed on their website. While the Malbec grape was brought over to Argentina from vines grown in Bordeaux in the 1800s, the Argentinian Malbec grape is different in size and character than Malbec grapes currently grown in France. It could be a difference in soil and growing conditions or it could possible be that the variety grown in Argentina was exterminated in one of Frances phylloxera infestations. Patagonia is a cool, dry growing area with poor soil (grapes need to struggle to be their best so poor soil beats good soil any day), nearly constant winds and a very long growing season. This Malbec is “in contact with French and American oak of first use,” since they say in contact and not barrel aged, they may have placed charred oak barrel staves into the huge stainless steel fermentation tanks to give the wine oak flavorings, but a limited amount of oak aging properties. Oak barrels can cost $1,000 each, which is a huge investment for a “drink it now” wine that is not intended to be cellared. The alcohol content is 14%. Wine Enthusiasts named it one of the Top 100 Best Buy Wines of 2012.
Malbec is known as the Black Wine and the Restivo Malbec fits right in. The nose is dark berries, oak spice, mint and ripe plums. This is a Malbec with a full rich mouthfeel. It tastes of very ripe, just picked blackberries, a little Starbucks Venti Mocha, cassis liqueur and tart cranberry. The mid palate adds some texture from the dusty, but soft tannins, along with blueberry creme brulee and a touch of curry spice. The finish is bold and long.
If you are looking for a Malbec that is bursting with flavor, then the Restivo Malbec Reserve is right up your alley. While rich and flavorful, the Restivo does not neglect balance and nuance. Malbec’s from the Mendoza region of Argentina, especially the value priced Malbec’s, all have a certain family resemblance, most of the wineries were started or refitted at about the same time and the vineyards were planted or replanted all at the same time and the main growing characteristics (high altitude and intense sun) affect all of the grapes. It is not fair to say the wines are all the same, but many do share common traits. If you want a Argentinian Malbec that is very good and unique, try Patagonia.
this bottle was received as a sample.