24th June 2020 by Nick Hoyle

This week’s “Wednesday Night Sausage Wine” is the super value Atorrante Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina, an excellent choice for the BBQ!

One of the recurring observations of this unusual lockdown period has been the relative difficulty of establishing what day of the week it is; all the days seem to be blending in. It has become, as jolly Morrisey once sang, that “Everyday is like Sunday”. My bewilderment was cranked up a further notch when we had roast beef… on a Thursday! Now it was not a full-on Sunday roast extravaganza, it was a more modest roast top rump – a great value cut by the way -a sort of Wednesday Night Sausage Wine of the roast beef world which, handily, went brilliantly with the Atorrante Malbec, which just happens to be this week’s Wednesday Night Sausage Wine.

Malbec has seen a real surge in popularity in this country with sales up nearly a quarter in both volume and value over this last year. It is a purple, relatively thick-skinned grape with a big presence. Its origins lie in France where it played a part in Bordeaux but was better known in Cahors where it produced what was known as “the black wine of Cahors”. In a vinous parallel with our current covid pandemic, nearly 75% of European vines were wiped out in the late nineteenth century by a vine eating bug called Phylloxera. It took quite a while for Malbec to get re-established in France to its pre-phylloxera levels. Fortunately, a good number of Malbec vines had been taken to Argentina in 1868 where the grape was embraced to the extent that now Argentina produces nearly 75% of the world’s Malbec. Argentinian Malbec has a deep colour with juicy flavours and, although it can be a rather tannic grape, it doesn’t always have the somewhat robust tannins of its Cahors counterpart.

Our Wednesday Night Sausage Wine, the Atorrante Malbec, is a really good example of what good value easy drinking Malbec Argentina can produce. It offers lovely ripe blackberry, plum and black cherry notes. It has a delicious lush mouthfeel with smooth tannins aided by a bit of wine making wizardry called micro-oxygenation. Now this isn’t the most complex of wines, but it does deliver in spades on the first rule of The Wednesday Night Sausage Wine (indeed of any wine!) and that is to be enjoyable. 

As mentioned earlier, we had it with roast beef and it was particularly good. Malbec is always good with beef of any description. The Atorrante Malbec would, I think, also be good with duck – it’s juicy plum and cherry flavours would, I’m certain, be a good match. It would be an excellent choice for a barbecue too, as long as we obey the rules of course. As we are all keeping 6 feet apart, here’s a top tip, get a bottle each!! It not only makes sound economic sense (a case of 6 works out cheaper) but the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, has reminded us that we can still spread the virus by passing things from person to person.

So, all the days may be blending in – so what? If every day is like Sunday don’t make it glum and miserable like Morrissey’s Sunday make it enjoyable and jolly; make it easy like Lionel Richie’s! The brilliant value Atorrante Malbec would certainly help any day.

The Atorrante Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina (13.5%) is available at The Whalley Wine Shop at £8.49 a bottle. Or buy a case online here for just £48- SAVE 5%!

Keep well, stay safe
Cheers
Nick