Written by:
Sheri Savitt
National Sales, Western US

Most people automatically associate Malbec with Argentina. But did you know Malbec originated in France and is one of six grapes allowed in a red Bordeaux blend? Today, more than 75 percent of the world’s Malbec comes from Argentina and plantings of Malbec in Argentina have increased by 171 percent since 2000. Elite Brands represents Malbecs from importer Kysela Pere et Fils from three quite different regions in Argentina.

Casir dos Santos Reserve Malbec

Argentina – Mendoza – Uco Valley

Situated at the foot of the Andres, the Uco Valley has a distinct microclimate, with a vast temperature range and complex soils. The resulting wines are intense and refined. Here Casir dos Santos has Cabernet Sauvignon in Gualtallary, Malbec vines in Vistaflores, and a mix of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines (including 50 year old plants) in San Carlos.

Founded in 1862, Casir dos Santos is one of the oldest wineries still operating in Argentina. The winery produces wine from the Uco Valley, Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu.

This Malbec is from Casir dos Santos’ Vista Flores vineyard in Tunuyan (Uco Valley).

Deep ruby color with aromas of ripe blackberries and plums and notes of forest, smoke and spice. Complex and structured with firm and elegant tannins. Well balanced acidity. A great reflection of the terroir.

Avatar Malbec

Argentina – Mendoza – Lujan de Cuyo
“Luján de Cuyo is a wine-producing sub-region of Argentina’s largest viticultural area, Mendoza. Unsurprisingly, Malbec is the region’s most-important grape variety, producing bold, intensely flavored red wines.
The region was the first in Argentina to be officially recognized as an appellation in 1993, and includes the wine-producing zones of Vistalba, Las Compuertas, Perdriel, Agrelo and Ugarteche. Maipu lies directly east of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley is to the south.
The region’s position on the edge of the imposing Andes mountain chain has an enormous effect on the terroir. The hot, dry climate is moderated by the high altitude of the region, averaging about 1000m (3300ft) above sea level.
At this altitude, the vineyards are subject to more-intense solar radiation during the day than lower-lying areas. This is balanced by evening temperatures that are considerably lower, cooled by alpine winds from the Andes. This diurnal temperature variation slows ripening overnight, and extends the growing season. The grapes develop full ripeness without losing their acidity.” Wine-Searcher.com
Avatar is the embodiment of the Agrelo´s terroir in a wine. Presents a vibrant red color with glints of bordeaux. Great aromatic intensity. It expresses in a very fresh way, with red fruits and a remarkable sweetness. In the mouth it’s balanced with round and sweet tannins, rich and with a marked acidity.

Cholila Ranch Malbec

Argentina – Patagonia
South of the equator, the further south you go, the cooler the climate. If you were to drive from Casir dos Santos winery to Bodega Malma, where Cholila Ranch Malbec is made, it would take you nearly 10 hours!
“Patagonia is South America’s southernmost wine-producing region. Despite being one of the world’s least-obvious places for quality viticulture, this desert region – with its cool, dry climate – has proved itself well suited to producing elegant red wines from Pinot Noir and Malbec.” – Wine-Searcher.com
Cholila Ranch Malbec shows a deep purple color, and aromas of ripe plum and mulberry with violet hints. Ripe black fruits and fig on the palate combine with touches of smoke and vanilla. Powerful yet balanced with a persistent finish.
“Cholila Ranch takes its name from the cabin in Argentina where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid holed up in 1901. This wine, from estate-grown fruit, captures the area’s cool climate in its lavender scents and herbal spice. It feels fresh and bright, carrying its concentrated fruit with elegance and ease. —T.Q.T.”
– Wine & Spirits (June 2020), 90 pts