2010 Mendel Malbec Mendoza
Expert Rating
RP 93 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Winemaker Roberto de la Mota Dust on the Silverado Trail

Last spring, on the eve of our return from Argentina, we treated you to a number of offers from some of the top small cellars of Mendoza. We spoke of the economic challenges winegrowers are facing, as inflation works its way north of 25%. We described the superb 2009 vintage, but also the cooler, more drawn out 2010 harvest that many in Lujan de Cujo and Uco Valley described as the finest ever for the old vines in the Andes foothills.

The truth is, we departed as skeptics. While nobody of sound mind disputes Mendoza's position as the source of the greatest bargain reds on the planet, we challenged those who are now suggesting that Argentina is set for a run at Napa Valley. All of the wines we hand-selected were deep in color, juicy and marvelously concentrated, but few offered the briary, age-worthy complexity that has the Silverado Trail fast on the heels of Pauillac.

But on the last day of the trip, during a three-hour visit to a tiny winery called Mendel, all of our skepticism was erased. The Wine Advocate had long sung the praises of Mendel, even if precious few of the top estate grown bottles make it stateside. But none of the lavish adjectives, or lofty ratings, prepared us for what we'd find on the high ground of Lujan de Cujo with Roberto de la Mota.

We wrote a story about that visit, describing the manicured 80-year-old dry-farmed vines with roots that spider a half dozen meters into the substrata, quenching their summer thirst on underground water reserves. We described a 2009 Malbec that cast a long shadow over every other Malbec tasted on that trip, a bottle not only of tremendous blackberry concentration, but marvelous aromatic and textural complexity.

But, if de la Mota's 2009 was a shot across the bow at the Silverado Trail, with the release of this 2010, Mendel has left most Napa addresses in the dust.

De la Mota's 2010 Mendel Malbec -- from the finest vintage in decades for the ancient vine Malbec of Mendoza -- is a couple notches above the brilliant 2009. Equally dark and deep, the blackberry/violet aromas are more explosive and more finely honed. The core is equally concentrated, packed with crushed black fruit and wild blueberry preserves. The finish is indeed longer and more chiseled, speaking loudly of the extended hang time of the vintage.

The Wine Advocate couldn't help but gush, calling this gorgeously chiseled powerhouse "a very natural Malbec, imbued with finesse and poise, with an almost effervescent freshness and vitality on the finish. It encapsulates everything great about Mendoza Malbec. Drink now-2020+" -- before punctuating that rave with a terse 93pt addendum.


Tasting Notes

2010 Mendel Malbec Mendoza
"2010 Mendel Malbec comes from un-grafted 82-year-old vines in Mayor Drummond and Perdriel that undergoes a tripartite aging in new, second and third year oak (Taransaud). It has an expressive bouquet with scents of blackberry, raspberry and dark plum infused with thyme and touches of wild mint. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp, beautifully defined tannins. This is a very natural Malbec, imbued with finesse and poise, with an almost effervescent freshness and vitality on the finish. It encapsulates everything great about Mendoza Malbec. Drink now-2020+."
93 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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