The newest addition to the Finca Ferrer family of wines: The Finca [ñ] Malbec

The Finca [ñ] Malbec has an abundance of dark fruit flavors, one of my favorite things about Malbecs in general, but it is also laced with a little chocolatiness -- my favorite thing about this Malbec in particular. Having paired the wine with a variety of foods, I can safely say that it is extremely food friendly. It went particularly well with Szechuan ribs and Kobe burger and was also yummy on the palate with blackened tuna. The tannins were soft enough, due to its approximate 12 months of barrel aging, to not intensify the blackened flavors and the wine had the perfect weight for the tuna.

As we sat around bringing our lunch to a close noticing that the wine has morphed from one to pair with food to one that could be sipped, I realize that we must have been interrupted every five minutes with someone stopping by to say “hi”.  They were not greeting me; they were greeting Miquel.  Mind you, I did not know they were all restaurant employees at the time -- not all of them had uniforms or some sort of badge to let you know they were on the job. But my take was that this guy must be some kind of wine “capo die vino capi.”  And I can assure you that Miquel Salarich is just that.

Finca [ñ] Malbec can be found in your favorite wine shop for about $24.

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The other day I had the absolute pleasure of having lunch with Miquel Salarich winemaker for Finca Ferrer in Argentina. Miquel is originally from Spain but has captured some of the Argentine gestures that only go with someone who knows and understands the country's great wine grape, Malbec. I have always had a love affair with the Malbec grape having first tried it about 18 years ago on my first of many visits to the land of Patagonia, with gauchos and beef that is to-die-for.  Malbec was for years maligned and used mainly in blending for its color and density. Although it is classified as a Bordeaux grape, it is not often that you see it in a true Bordeaux blend.  Instead, it is the New World that has welcomed Malbec onto its shores and no place has done a better job than Argentina.

Argentina is a vast country, it is seventh in area, and not only is it part of South America but parts of it also lie within the Antarctic continent. It is a country with vast geographical differences: from ice fields to arid zones; from broad grassy plains to woods and forests; and from mountains and their corresponding valleys to streams that run into lakes that run into the ocean. And of all the geography Argentina has to offer none is more conducive to growing wine grapes than the Uco Valley in the province of Mendoza. The Uco Valley encompasses some of the highest altitude vineyards and is especially known for Malbec. Its stunning natural setting, below a stretch of the Andes, makes it one of the most picturesque regions in Argentina. The valley's dry weather and the wide thermal range between day and night have created its distinctive micro climates, which result in wines that are typically rich in color and ideal for aging.

Because of the Uco Valley’s welcoming climate to wine grapes and not to mention its beauty, Miquel, our winemaker, took a chance and left Spain and a career in dairy farming to forage for a Malbec like no other. Enter the Finca [ñ] Malbec. Finca [ñ] is part of the Finca Ferrer family of wines. If the Ferrer name sounds familiar to you, it is because it is the same family as Freixinet and Gloria Ferrer Wines. There is a lot of history and wine know-how going into each bottle of the Finca [ñ] Malbec and it shows.

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