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A second label of Nicolas Catena always worth looking at is Alamos Selección Malbec 2007 $17 . Soft and supple, peppery and floral - all the typical savoury, smoky, vanilla, chocolate, plum and cedar fruit. A bit warm (alcoholic) but ready to drink with attractive fruit.
American Paul Hobbs has an interesting group of projects in South America including Cobos in Mendoza. The Cobos Bramare Malbec 2005 $40 is a powerhouse red from the Luján de Cuyo district in the northern part of the Mendoza region. The entry is rich and ripe with round, grainy tannins. Look for plum and black cherry fruit dusted with vanilla pudding, cocoa and flecks of orange peel. As big as it gets.
Now all we need is for that pesky snow to let up and we can get the barbecue season under way.
Anthony Gismondi is a globetrotting wine writer who makes his home in West Vancouver, British Columbia. For more of his thoughts on wine log onto www.gismondionwine.com