Monday, March 2, 2009

Is Malbec The New Merlot?


The Wall Street Journal wine report linked below is doubly interesting:  Not only does it present some startling stats about current wine purchasing trends, but interviewee Howard Silverman also offers up an assertion about Malbec, that hot new red from Argentina.  

As proprietor of Howard's Wine Cellar in Chicago, Silverman has witnessed first-hand the recent consumer migration toward lower-priced wines (a trend dubbed "trading down" in the biz), and has apparently spent considerable time and effort seeking out quality bottles that fall into the $10-$20 range.  One of his bargain best-sellers is of the aforementioned South American variety, and he explains that these days, Malbec seems to be the "new Merlot".  In other words, the delicious crowd-pleaser is here to stay.



Enjoy,

C&S

7 comments:

Food Czar said...

C&S, I'm very interested in this discussion, as I know you are. I LOVE malbec, but unlike merlot, I know it's not usually friendly to beginner's palates. I'm not sure someone could switch overnight from drinking white zinfandel to drinking malbec. If a newby showed interest in reds, I would probably advise them to start with grenache or merlot, then try malbec after they had been drinking reds awhile. In any case, if true, it suggests the growing sophistication of America's palates. If you found yourself tutoring a red-wine newby, would you practice the step-up theory (grenache to merlot to malbec) or the total immersion theory (malbec right away)?

Eddie G said...

I love malbec as well...but I certainly hope its potential status as a popular mainstay doesn't mean lower quality in the near future. Thoughts C&S and Food Czar??

Classy&Sassy said...

FC - I'm not really on board with the idea of a "beginner's" wine. While many wines are complex and sophisticated, it doesn't take an expert to appreciate them. I understand what you're saying, though, with regard to someone who would normally choose a sweeter or lighter-bodied variety - Malbec might not be up their alley.

Eddie - No worries! I think the appeal of Malbec is that so many wonderful bottles are available at an affordable price already. * On an unrelated note, I'd love to get in touch with Johnny Raw Appleseed - but the number at Bliss goes to vm. Do you have an alternate contact by chance?

Eddie G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Food Czar said...

C&S, I love the idea that you don't believe in beginner's wine! Maybe we've moved past that stage as a society. Another way to tutor: Pour samples of grenache, shiraz, malbec, merlot, pinot, zinfandel, and cab, and see which one they would like to try as a full pour.

Eddie G: I sincerely hope the quality of malbec won't be lowered. I'm thinking that American's growing wine sophistication won't stand for it. I know you won't, and neither will I!!

Hayley said...

Malbec is incredible. To make sure the quality doesn't drop, due to its new found fame, search out the lesser known, small production wineries from Argentina. Bottled Poetry Imports in Dallas imports family owned, small production, incredible wine from Argentina...and I guarantee the lovely Argentine's he works with will not allow their quality to drop. I visited Mendoza with the owner of Bottled Poetry, Stewart Elliott Jr., last year and was impressed by all, specifically Vina Alicia, Bodega el Porvenir, Bressia and Huarpe.

Smarry said...

Very nice thanks for the sharing.............

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Smarry
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