Value Alert: 2008 Layer Cake Malbec

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Whem Robert Parker dropped a 91 point rating on the $15 2008 Layer Cake Malbec I was surprised.  Not because it's hard for such an affordable wine to get a 90+ point rating, but because I thought the most recent Layer Cake wine I had was lousy.  The other was the 2007 Layer Cake Shiraz and I nearly swore off the brand after noting that the "Stew-like aromas and flavors suppress the fruit as if gorillas have overturned an army camp and are holding those normally in charge hostage."

Against that backdrop, I was on the fence whether to buy a bottle of Layer Cake Malbec when I saw it recently.  I find Malbec to be a tricky category in a unique way in terms of finding value.  It's relatively easy to find really good Malbec for under $15 from Argentina.  But that doesn't mean you can walk into a wine shop and every $10 Malbec is going to be taste good.  Brands like Altos Las Hormigas, Pascual Toso and Luigi Bosca come to mind as ones frequently mentioned to seek out for value.

When I think of Argentine Malbec, I think of a luscious, full bodied, flavorful red with softer tannins than Napa Cab.  Given that favorable profile for the American market, it's a fast-growing category for value.  I'm glad I gave the Layer Cake Malbec a try- I thought it was quite enjoyable.  Here are my notes:

2008 Layer Cake Malbec

On the nose, this Malbec offers just a hint of what's to come on the palate.  Aromatically, I picked up on just a hint of iron, beef jerky, and dark brambly berries.  However, the attack on the palate is where this wine really excels.  A dazzling array of ultra-vibrant, clean, delicious fruit is immediately present, accompanied by a respectable dose of acidity.  Tannins are silky and non-grating.  A long pleasant finish.  A thoroughly enjoyable full-bodied wine.

WWP 89: Very Good

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(Note: Label image above taken from prior 2007 vintage.)

Question the Day: Who are some of your favorite Malbec producers?


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