The best wine I’ve had from AZ?

Back in Arizona… but this is FAR from the Cottonwood/Jerome wine-region: this is practically MEXICO! Down in Willcox, but still at stupid elevations: this one clocks in at a cool 5200′. Take THAT, Sierra Foothills. And if you read my last little rant on personal acceptance of a region with a peculiar *definition*, I’m here to take it one step further: Discovering a variety that just *works*. And for that, I proffer up this Malbec. It seems while the North is focused on Rhone & Iberian varieties, this is at least the second Willcox winery crossing these pages inclined towards BDX. And I’m beginning to think Grenache’s built-in chemistry exacerbates the “candied thin ripeness” this climate expresses and this ‘bec provides a powerful argument. But I’m just a dumb taster. I’m not a farming scientist.

And I’ll be honest: I’m not the world’s biggest Malbec fan. I would never succumb to a 99%’ers shallow statement of, “I don’t like that variety!” but it’s just not something I gravitate to when I see it on a label or detect its fairly pronounced situations on the palate. I like Cahors. I’ve had a half-dozen South American versions worth raving about–along with a few Californian’s. But typically–from the New World–it just doesn’t blow up my skirt. This is one I really enjoy. They’ve done a good job with this. Maybe it’s Arizona destiny?

Dark purple-black in the glass, but maintaining medium transparency. Robust and spicy in the nose, a jellied ripeness almost approaching Zinfandel, but stopping well short of plummy cloyingness. Thick, candied cherry rules the base-line, but a classic oak programme and confident, varietally-correct winemaking molds the bouquet towards classicism.

In the mouth, bitter herbs and definite acid tone down any new-world Malbec flatulence: a transition cleanly derived from everything apparent in the nose. Crunchy blackberry and pomegranate-membrane are dry and green-spirited; the body gloriously thin while exuberant in steadfast elegance. It delivers bitter, heady gobs of berry while toeing the dangerous bright line of acute nuance and fruit focus under laser-sharp restraint. The tannins will curl your toes, but the whole package will leave a smile on your face. This is a ridiculously well-done wine, highly recommended NOT just because I like it, but because it stands up as a beautiful example of the variety across several continents.

2019 ARIDUS Malbec Estate Vyd Willcox Arizona 13.6

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