Heavily charred and roasted throughout, with a blackened nose. The palate is broad and chewy, with thick tannins and roasted, ripe flavors of blackberry, licorice and bitter chocolate. Remains severely toasted all the way to the final drop; aged in 80% new French oak (apparently fully toasted oak).— M.S.
Rich, warm and possessing a ton of dry oak, this is one serious Argentine Cabernet. The palate is grippy as a rubber glove, with snappy berry flavors and pointed acidity. It’s ripe, racy and edgy, with substance to the fruit, feel and finish. Drink now through 2010.— M.S.
Subtle and smooth from start to finish. The aromas are sly but sturdy, with mocha and blackberry sticking out. The flavor profile is pure black fruit with underlayers of spice and chocolate. A ripe, really good example of approachable Malbec.— M.S.
Over two decades of working in Argentina, Susana Balbo has picked up a thing or two about winemaking. Her eponymous Malbec features masculine high-voltage fruit coddled in French oak. The result is a snappy, deep wine with lemony edges and a strong foundation. With 10% each of Cabernet and Bonarda.— M.S.
Love the big handprint on the label as well as the burgundy color of this Malbec rosé, which ranks as one of the most consistent pink wines from a country (Argentina) that doesn’t do rosé all that well. Winemaker Susana Balbo gets the size and tint from her Malbec fruit but manages to corral the bubble-gum sweetness…— M.S.
As the higher-end 2008s hit the market, the vintage’s underwhelming character is confirmed via wines like this. Oaky and rubbery on the nose, with scattered, lean berry fruit flavors and bitterness. Like many ’08s, it’s short on richness and comes across unfocused. That said, it’s still a good wine that’s not badly made.— M.S.
Dark in color, with aromas of coconut, leather, chocolate malt balls and generic black fruit. The wine is tannic and a little bit grating but generally in balance, with bold cassis, cherry and blackberry flavors. Not complex and seemingly made more for the everyday wine drinker than the collector.— M.S.
Smooth on the bouquet, with papaya, melon and other more neutral fruit aromas. The palate shows a teaspoon or two of sugary sweetness, while melon, mango and ripe apple flavors fill things out. A pleasant wine with a lightly candied way to it. Simple and basic, and decidedly not bitter.— M.S.