Malbec, 1977 – Canto Rodado Flichman

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | February 1982

The fifth largest wine producing country in the world, Argentina, produces most of its wine for local consumption. Little is exported. Wine grapes were introduced to the country by Father Cedron, a Jesuit priest in 1566. Since then the industry has grown to where the Argentinian is a wine drinking person. (man:) Latest figures show wine consumption at 85.7 liters per capita per year (USA 6.53 liters; France, the highest, 103.7 liters). The province of Mendoza produces 70% of the wine of Argentina and the finest come from the Flichman estate in Barrancas. Founded in 1910, this small vineyard of 250 acres is unique in its resemblance to Napa Valley in latitude and climate (except that it is the Southern Hemisphere). Note that for identical vintage years Argentine wines are actually some eight months older than our northern hemisphere wines. Since their seasons are the reverse of ours, their vintage occurs in Feb­ruary as opposed to October in California and Europe. Canto Rodado is the trademark of this famous Finca Flichman Estate, which produces a line of wines that can be depended on to be of quality. The Heublein people felt so; enough that they sought to represent it in their 1980 auction of fine wines.

Malbec is a grape extensively cultivated in Bordeaux and around Cahors in Southern Central France. In both areas it is used as a blending wine primarily to add softness and early maturing prop­erties to a wine. In Argentina it accounts for two thirds of the red wine production. It is marketed both as a free standing varietal as our wine is this month, or more often blended with the other red grapes for their table wines. As a varietal, it produces a well balanced wine of considerable finesse with characteristics resembling a cabernet sauvignon, but lighter and usually maturing earlier. Grown at the foot of the Andes mountains and in this climate, it seems to rise to the occasion and show capabilities beyond its French counterpart.

The wine is garnet red in color. It has a fragrant nose, with fruit and almond-like overtones. The taste is robust, yet mellow; full bodied, tex­tured with a tannin-laced fruit finish. Serve with roasts, barbecued steaks, stews or pasta.

CELLARING NOTES: Will smooth its tannin and add some complexities for 10 years.

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