Zonte’s Footstep Violet Beauregard 2016
Superstar Argentine a warming winter wine
Although it was once known only as being one of the six varietals used in the famed French Bordeaux blends, Malbec has become somewhat of a superstar for the Argentine wine industry.
It’s a thick-skinned grape that needs a bit of extra heat and sun to do its best work, so the Argentinian climate is ideally suited. And if you like the style, it’s hard to go past the Riserva examples that are often imported from South America, but you’ll pay a pretty penny. The quality of their Malbec is no longer a secret and demand from North America is driving up prices. Such is the popularity of their wines that some of the best Malbec wines from Argentina’s premier vineyards are now commanding prices of well over $100 a bottle!
It’s often been said that we live in the “lucky country”, and if you’re a lover of Malbec, you’ll be counting your blessings that you call Australia home. While we get a fair bit more rain than most of Argentina, we do have vinicultural regions which enjoy the hot sunny climate that malbec thrives in and our malbec can be pretty good. But best of all, our local wares generally hit the shelves at prices significantly lower than the bottles which hail from France, Chile or Argentina.
While the first malbec vines are thought to have landed in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley in the 1840’s, savvy winemakers have trialed it in other regions with varying degrees of success. And if you ask me, the Australian home of malbec is destined to be Langhorne Creek in South Australia
Located on the Fleurieu Peninsula about 70 kms from Adelaide, the Langhorne Creek region enjoys plenty of sun, but thanks to the cooling maritime breezes coming off Lake Alexandrina, the summer heat is moderated and the winter frosts kept at bay. Cabernet has always done really well in the locale but in more recent times, the local winemakers have enjoyed enormous success with malbec as well. And best of all, their malbec aren’t priced to the rafters….yet.
It may not pack the punch of some of the Argentinian examples of the grape, but the Zonte’s Footstep Violet Beauregard 2016 is punching well above its proverbial weight. At only around $20 a bottle, it’s a bargain! Pour it out and you’ll remark at the vibrant violet hue it displays around the edges.
Take a sip and the violet nose turns to mulberries and raspberries before the aptly named Violet Beauregard drowns your taste buds in a deluge of blueberries through the mid-palate. The fruit is ripe and stout, though constrained through the finish by fine-grained tannins. It’s probably only of medium weight, but at a modest 14% alcohol, doesn’t leave a burning sensation in its wake.
Personally, I’d love to blend this with a hint of cabernet franc, but it’s pretty good as it is – especially at the price point! Pair it with roast lamb or even souvlaki, and I suspect that you might never drink cabernet again!