Ernesto Catena, Tahuan Malbec, 2011

Occasionally, (actually I mean almost never) if the stars align and there’s a full daytime eclipse, it happens to be a flower day in the biodynamic calendar, and a hole in the space-time continuum appears all at the same time, and other similarly unlikely events – like you happen to be in the wine aisle of your local Tesco supermarket, then you might just find a lovely wine, priced without trickery, appear fleetingly on the shelves of ‘selected’ branches…


Actually this is more than a lovely wine, I would say it’s absolutely stunning! Forget the bargain price tag, I would put this up there with some of the best high-end wines I’ve tasted, including a sublime Angelus and especially better than those off-vintage Bordeaux 1er Cru (see here).

I’ve realised lately that I’m a real sucker for American oak, so I guess I was almost predetermined to love this wine with it’s 10 months exposure to the stuff. However that’s not the whole story, this also has lovely mouthfeel, great fruit and some blue cheesy complexity with perfect balance that make this a truly complete package.

There are a few wines I’ve been really enthusiastic about recently, most of those from Spain, and of course the delightful Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Les Beguines that has ruined all other champagnes for me, and now this Malbec from Catena. I first opened it as an end-of-the-evening supplementary wine on Malbec World Day last year and it impressed everyone so much I bought another half case during the very next 25% off all wines offer. Expecting a bit of a fluke or possibly a ‘great bottle’ phenonemon the first time around, I only expected this to be a nice quality drink, however it turned out to be one the most enjoyably impressive bottle of wines I’ve ever had.

I checked Robert Parker, where I was, to be honest, a little surprised to find a review (especially one from this very month) after all, how many wines on the shelves of Tesco have been sampled by Robert Parker himself? I would say approximately – none! He only awards it 88 points however, despite being enthusiastic about it and it’s terrific value:

“A beautiful Malbec, the 2011 Tahuan spends 10 months in 70% oak split between French and American cooperage. Another terrific value with notes of blueberry pie, licorice, camphor and acacia flowers, this wine has a nice texture, a dense ruby/purple color, medium body and loads of fruit. This is an attractive, mouthfilling and satisfying Malbec that sells for a song.”  88 points Robert Parker Feb 2014.

If you don’t seek this out and buy some, especially next time Tesco offer 25% off all wines, then you will really be missing out on an excellent wine, that is truly a bargain …and you will be an idiot!

Tesco £9.75 25% off (£13:00 full price)

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