At 18% alcohol this isn’t your everyday Argentinean Malbec, this is a fortified Malbec that gives after-dinner Port a run for its money.
Made initially like any other red wine, the addition of high-alcohol grape spirit after 10 days stops the wine’s fermentation in its tracks before the added yeast has finished using up all the sugar in the grape juice. This leaves some sugar present, making for a sweet tasting fruity wine. The added grape spirit (basically brandy) tops up the unfinished low alcohol wine to 18% abv, which is similar to other fortified wines like Port (made in Portugal using Portuguese grape varieties) and Marsala (made in Sicily using Italian grape varieties).
Okay, but what about Sherry? That’s a fortified wine too made in Spain using Spanish grape varieties but it’s allowed to oxidise in a controlled way to get a different set of flavours. And then there’s Madeira. A fortified wine from the island of Madeira which is deliberately heated by piping hot water through the wine containers and giving the wine its slightly cooked flavours.
But fortified Malbec is a new idea – and the Malamado is the first fortified wine from Argentina.
But what does it taste like?
Rather like the sweetest form of Sherry (Pedro Ximenez, PX) but not so sickly. The black treacle flavours have added bilberry jam that’s been cooked a bit too long but lightened with a fresh apple juice aftertaste. The blackberry and cherry polish aroma doesn’t make it into the flavour.
Treat this wine as you would other sweet fortified wines so match to desserts or nuts. Available in a smaller 50cl version from Tesco (£12) and in a larger 75cl bottle from Virgin Wines at £15.99.
It’s a shame the other fortified wines in the Malamado range (a fortified Viognier and a fortified Torrontes, both white wines with added alcohol) haven’t made it to the UK. There’s even a colourless brandy made by distilling the Torrentes wine rather than fortifying it and named Fire of Torrontes.
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Malamado Fortified Malbec
£12 (50cl) Tesco, £15.99 (75cl) Virgin Wines
Tastes rather like the sweetest form of Sherry (Pedro Ximenez, PX) but not so sickly. The black treacle flavours have added bilberry jam that’s been cooked a bit too long but lightened with a fresh apple juice aftertaste. The blackberry and cherry polish aroma doesn’t make it into the flavour. Treat this wine as you would other sweet fortified wines so match to desserts or nuts.
Tesco Finest Pedro Ximenez PX Sherry
£6 Tesco, half-sized bottle
This is the sweetest form of sherry so if you are looking for subtle flavours then this one is not for you. It’s the colour of liquid Marmite but has the aroma of sweet raisins. The flavour is rich and smooth and tastes of fruit cake with some black treacle and cough mixture added in. Thick and viscous – you may have to scoop it out of the glass.
Taylors Select Reserve Port
Complex aromas of damsons, violets, marzipan and a hint of black treacle are there too on the taste along with fruity mulberry and nutty milk chocolate. It tastes a bit like the sweeter style of sherry (PX) but its not so sweet. A great after dinner wine.
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