Foncalieu is a Languedoc-based coop with 650 member growers and has a turnover of €54 million. For the region, its production mix is unusually weighted towards white and rosé (both account for 50% of volume). It has launched a series of six reasonably ambitious, modern wines, of which this is one, made from young Malbec vines that have come from Argentine cuttings! The result is really nice. The wine comes from the Montandy plateau outside Béziers, with red, chalky soils with traces of iron. I tried it alongside two other Malbecs from Argentina, and it performed very well (as did the Argentine wines).
Ensedune Malbec 2017 Coteaux d’Ensérune IGP, France
13.5% alcohol. This is one of a range of six single varietal wines from Foncalieu. It’s an impressive, vibrant, unoaked Malbec with fresh, vivid, sweet berry fruits, some cherry florality and a bit of grunt on the finish. Modern, Fruit-driven, but honest this really delivers a lot of pleasure, and hints of pepper and meat add complexity. UK retail is just under £10, at which point it’s very good value. 89/100
Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clásico 2017 Mendoza, Argentina
13.5% alcohol. Vineyards for this wine were selected for their soil profile and altitude. Unoaked, aged in concrete tanks. The nose shows a leafy, green, open red fruit character that’s very sappy and floral. The palate is light and supple with elegant red cherry and plum fruit, as well as a fine spiciness. There are some haunting green notes that add a lot of freshness and sappiness. The acidity is quite bright but well integrated. Such a lovely expression of Argentine Malbec, with a focus on elegance, but it won’t please those looking for power and opulence in their wines. It’s brilliant value with a UK retail of around £12. 92/100
Morrison’s Gran Montaña Malbec Reserva 2016 Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
13.5% alcohol. Made for Morrisons by Zuccardi. Really fresh and supple with bright cherry and berry fruits, with some raspberry freshness and well-integrated green notes. This has lovely detail and focus, with nice acidity keeping things fresh. There’s no oak obscuring the fruit and it has great focus. Superb value at £8. 91/100
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