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Column: Red wine honoured, white wine enjoyed

Malbec wines have transformed Argentina's wine industry.
Vermentino and Malbec wines
a budget priced delicious Malbec from Argentina and a tasty white from the south of France

If you missed celebrating World Malbec Day, here’s a tasty Malbec for you to try in the days ahead. Red wine lovers observe April 17 in honour of the flagship red grape for the wines of Argentina. On that date in 1853, the Argentine president asked Michel Pouget to bring over vines from France, including Malbec, to transform Argentina’s wine industry.

And what a transformation it has been! Today 80 per cent of Malbec vines in the world are planted in Argentina, and most of them are in the Mendoza region. That’s where today’s red originates, the 2018 Dona Paula Estate Malbec ($15.99, $3 off until May 1). It has an enchanting aroma of mulberry, black fruit, and forest floor. Imagine walking through a forest with wild berries on a warm spring morning: fresh and fruity with a whiff of the coniferous needles and the rich earth. On the palate there’s ripe blackberry and licorice flavours with refreshing acidity and a dry finish.  It has ripe tannins and is smooth.

I enjoyed the Dona Paula with a strip loin roast of beef, Ukrainian beet horseradish, and a gravy made from the drippings and some of the Malbec. But of course it would be superb with barbecued hamburgers too.

From Argentina we travel to the south of France to uncork the Paul Mas Allnatt 2019 Vermentino ($19.99). Vermentino is a green grape that’s widely planted in Italy in Sardinia, Tuscany, and Liguria. And there are small plantings in France, in this case in the Languedoc region.

Uncork the Paul Mas Allnatt Vermentino, and experience the generous aroma of citrus. On your palate the wine transitions into zesty flavours of lemon curd and zest, along with grapefruit, lime and ginger.

It has a lot of terroir, the result of the minerals in the soil, which give it a wonderful texture and a bone dry citrus finish.

Enjoy the Vermentino with a prawn and scallop salad, a chicken sandwich, and pasta with pesto sauce. Or some cheese, like French Morbier or Swiss Raclette.

Paul Mas Allnatt 2019 Vermentino received 91 points from the April issue of the UK’s Decanter Magazine and the Dona Paula Estate Malbec earned 92 points from the American wine critic, James Suckling. Both wines are available at all Richmond BC Liquor Stores.

Today’s wine picks are dry which used to be zero out of 10 on the old BCLS sweetness code.  On analysis, the wine has five grams or less of residual sugar. Our taste buds cannot detect any sweetness at this low level.

Many reds such Bordeaux, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir are in this category. White wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Vermentino are also dry. Sparkling Wines that are labelled ‘Brut’ are dry.

As you can see, wines can be complex; they can be considered dry in terms of sugar content but are very much wet! But they can be simple to enjoy. Salut!