2015 Amalaya Malbec, Salta, Argentina (Decanter 94 Points)

Any wine that survives the three-judge gauntlet of Decanter with a score of 94 is worth a look in our book, even more when that wine comes in at under $20 a bottle. The Amalaya 2015 Malbec fits that bill, and after our tasting, we discovered that this is not your average Argentinian Malbec.

With decanting in mind, we recommend delving into the scent of the wine at 25 minutes with a few test sips to follow in the next 10 minutes. From 35 minutes out, the wine truly shows its character and can be fully enjoyed. 

We poured this wine into a decanter, and after five minutes of vigorous agitation, we found that the initial nose was filled with soft scents of gunpowder and cocoa powder. At 15 minutes, the cocoa powder had asserted itself to be the dominant flavor while scents of dried wintergreen and dark fruits were lurking in the shadows.

At 25 minutes, hints of vanilla began to pierce through the cocoa powder cover whereas 30 minutes of decanting allowed an array of juicy plums and black cherries to shine on the palate with a solid 30-second finish.

Now 35-45 minutes in, this wine shows just how unique of a Malbec it is when the palate and nose fill with burnt matchstick, underripe strawberries, blueberries, and crabapples. Finally, at the 1-hour mark, a minerality emerged with notes of salt and yellow plums.

Throughout the tastings, we were intrigued by the character of this Amalaya Malbec.  There is a remarkable acidic energy beyond that typical for the varietal making it a fantastic food wine made for spring patio weather.  With such acidity, this wine would pair perfectly with freshly grilled ribeyes or lamb chops. However, it's not limited to the grill; this wine can be the new best friend for your meat lovers pizza, beef roast, rich cheeses, or any fatty, stick to your ribs fare. 

If you've been struggling to decide which wine should go with your Sunday dinner, we have your answer with the Amalaya 2015 Malbec.

- Andrew Dunaway