If I hurry I can get it in under the wire! I’m definitely tardy today– busy days mean that sometimes I can’t get my wine homework done.
Rushing to find my weekly pick, I discovered a 2013 Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec | Cabernet Sauvignon.
A collaboration between Nicolás Catena an Domaines Baron de Rothschild (Lafite), this wine was clear, garnet colored, full body offering with medium-hi tannin. It had a delicate nose of cherry and rose and tasted of bold blackberry, black plum with just a hint of bell pepper. While it was 2013, it began to open up to reveal a bit more complexity; it was a nicely balanced 50/50 blended vintage.
Putting the Grand in Gran Reserva
Gran Reserva is a frequent term used on the labels throughout Spain to define both quality and style. In Spanish law there are labelling terms that indicate the minimum periods of ageing the barrel and the bottle. It is traditional practice to age wines for long periods of time in oak barrels and then in the bottle before it’s released. Therefore, Spanish produced vintages are usually older than those from other countries.
On the label you’ll find one of four terms that indicate the levels of age. In order of increasing age:
- Joven~ wines bottled the year following the vintage for immediate release, and indicate wines that haven’t been aged in oak for the minimum of time to be considered Crianza. $10-15
- Crianza~ one year in oak– one year in the bottle. $15-20
- Reserva~ one year in oak– two years in the bottle. $25+
- Gran Reserva~ two years in oak– three years in the bottle. $35+ Gran Reserva wines are produced in only exceptional vintages, and the best of these are beautifully complex.
So now when you look for Malbec, you’ll know what to look for on the label to get the most complex and flavourful offering. After all, age ain’t always just a number; it’s time spent in the barrel and bottle.