Ah, Parra Alta Malbec – brambly, full bodied and jammy. You’re everything I look for in an easy drinking red, and yet, if you know where to look, there are better wines to be had. Better!? Oh yes. If your palette is anything like mine, you’ll love to read about these fruitier, fuller bodied answers to Parra Alta Malbec just dying to be drunk right now.
What Makes Parra Alta Malbec So Good?
Growing conditions in Argentina are excellent. The areas under vine are essentially desert, which keeps the plants stressed enough to produce fruit, and the dry conditions make rot, mildew and diseases rare. Growers can take water from streams that come from the Andes. What’s more, the vineyards are at a fairly high altitude, which means the vines get lots of sunlight while the temperatures remain cool. As a result, the grapes can build tonnes of flavour.
What’s more, Argentina has benefited from Spanish winegrowers. Lots of wine makers have settled in Argentina over the years, bringing their knowledge and European grapes varieties with them.
Yet the brand ‘Parra Alta’ is merely named after the method of growing vines up away from hot Argentinian soil. Indeed, Malbec tends to be grown in this manner in the country, due to the scorching climate. Given that, there are better examples of full bodied, fruity reds being made.
Alternatives You Really Need to Know About:
The first two alternatives will go down a treat with football fans. Leo Messi, professional footballer at FC Barcelona and captain of the Artgentine side, has helped to produce the two following Malbecs. You may prefer them just because of the footballing connection (unless you follow AC Milan). Yet they also taste rather lovely too, and some of the profits go to the Leo Messi Foundation. You can read more about Leo Messi’s wines here.
On the first whiff, you’ll get the characteristic plum and black cherry flavours. And on the palette, you’ll get smooth red fruit flavours in abundance, with a great deal of balance – not too tannic, not too acidic, not too sweet. In fact, it’s the balance which sets this wine apart from something like Parra Alta Malbec.
Think of everything you like about Malbec, and then imagine it more intense. This wine has been created with manually selected grapes which would be the best fruit from the crop to make the best wine. In addition to the powerful red fruit flavours, there are also spicy notes. This would be a great wine to have with a steak studded with peppercorns.
Old Vines Garnacha Makes an Excellent Alternative to Malbec
Old vines produce grapes which much more concentrated flavours, and the vines used to make this wine are 60 – 80 years old. That means the old vines were planted in the same year as the Hindenburg Disaster. The result is an intense red fruit flavour, which also has some toasty notes due to 10 months of aging. However this is still a young wine, like the Malbecs above. It has a lovely nose with fruits of the forest, and a very long finish.
A Little More Different, But Still Powerfully Fruity
Guia Peñín gave this wine a whopping 91 points, and the variety, Monastrell, makes wines with strong dark fruit flavours. Indeed as ‘Crianza’, it is a young, fruity wine. It will certainly be the uncomplicated, easy drinking red that you’re looking for.