April 17th is Malbec World Day, a loose translation of “Día Mundial del Malbec,” a worldwide celebration of Argentina’s red wine renaissance. Purportedly on April 17, 1853, then-President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento tasked French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget with improving Argentina’s wine stock, a task to be accomplished by identifying and ultimately importing better grape varietals. Pouget’s experimentation led to the adaptation of French Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings that ultimately flourished in Argentina’s diverse microclimates.
Today, Argentinian Malbec, among all reds grown there (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Tempranillo, to name a few), is by far the country’s greatest wine export. In fact, Malbec has become synonymous with Argentina wines- supported by the annual celebration in its honor. In addition to the overall quality, one of the hallmarks of Argentinian wine production is a high quality-to-cost ratio, with Trivento Mendoza Reserve Malbec among the greatest. A perennial award winner, I was fortunate to receive a bottle of the 2021 vintage to sample.
Malbec is big, hearty, and full-bodied Bordeaux-style red, although individual vintages and producers may vary in heft. Trivento vintages sit firmly on the “big” side, although still quite approachable, and the 2021 is no exception. Rated a 90 by Robert Parker and a 92-point “Best Value Red Wine of the Year” by Tim Atkin, this wine (IMHO) unquestionably lives up to the “hype.”
Pouring a deep ruby red, the wine fills the air with an intensely perfumed aroma of dark berries, cherry, baked plums, and a hint of barrel spice. Swirling releases “flower shop” aromas, followed by toasted oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a distant whiff of pipe tobacco. The initial sip is softly fruit-forward, with slightly tart berries and mild tannins leading the charge, followed by a round, cooked-fruit-pie fatness. Notes of baked cherries and vanilla follow, nicely structured within a frame of oak and creamy cassis. The finish is soft and silky, although not especially long, with a tiny hint of lingering smoke and fruit textures.
What surprises me most about the wine is its “aged” quality- it doesn’t “feel” like a young red wine. Although it could likely hold up to a few years in the library, this wine is built to drink now. I tested it with my absolute favorite wine-paring food, Coastal-aged cheddar, and it was spectacular. Extrapolating, I believe it would easily pair with red meats, but could also handily serve as a “lunching” wine or be served with small plates and appetizers.
If you pushed me to sum up Trivento Reserve Malbec in one word, it would be “approachable.” Argentinean wines, as a whole, tend to be approachable as well as affordable, with a noticeably high value ratio, especially considering the insane cost of American and French wines. One thing’s for sure, as long as Argentina continues producing quality value wine like Trivento’s, I will continue to celebrate “Día Mundial del Malbec” and keep shouting: ¡Viva Argentina!
Just tried a bottle of the 2020 Trivento, and it was awesome. I’ll look for the 2021! Thanks for the helpful review!
Thanks for the comment, Dan!