Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Wine Indiana Jones would Love

The label description reads like a plot line to one of the title character's eponymous movies:

"Located in the Calchaqui Valleys of Salta in Northwest Argentina...The estates range in altitude from 1700m - 2700m above sea level, which makes them among the highest vineyards in the world."

Rugged, inky and leathery. This is not  the typical fruit-bomb Malbec

The label does such a good job of describing the remote, high-altitude growing region where the Colome Estate Malbec comes from that it doesn't even mention that the wine is made with fruit grown on pre-phyllexora vines that are over a 150 years old.

So yes, Indiana Jones, if he were a wine drinker, would enjoy the Colome 2010 Estate Malbec - and not only because it would be an adventure just to get to the winery. It is also one of those very masculine wines that if full-bodied, earthy and heavy that's perfect after a long day of treasure hunting and Nazi fighting.

"Here, Dad. Try this Malbec. It'll make you feel better" 

I was intrigued when I read a description of Colome because of both its growing altitude and that it comes from vines that are over a century old. Since I am usually an inexpensive Malbec drinker - one who rarely spends more than $10 for a bottle and usually select it for its versatility and crowd appeal - I was expecting a wine of similar, but more complex, flavors.

What I discovered when I tried the Colome was quite the opposite. While there was some dark fruit present, the flavors were way more hearty and the fruit more subtle. "Inky," "leathery" and "earthy" were my first impressions. The wine does open up in the glass, and given that this is a big and bold wine, it is also incredibly well-balanced after opening up a bit.

Not only that, but the Colome is another of a rare breed of wines that shows what a good Argentine Malbec can be if you are willing to spend a little bit more on the bottle. The other one in this rarefied club is the Serrera Malbec, which I have written about previously. Both show the full potential of the Malbec grape, though is totally unexpected when compared to most people's idea of what a Malbec "should" taste like.

Colome Estate Malbec is a great conversation wine. It has a great story, an exotic growing location, and most importantly, is an interesting and enjoyable wine to drink.

Special thanks goes to Jim Caudill at The Hess Collection - the owners of Colome - for providing me with such an enjoyable sample!

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