El Felino 2003 Mendoza Malbec ($12.99)
This is a very dark reddish-purple wine, black at the center, unfiltered and unfined. Ripe and "rustic" aromas focus on black plums, with a distinct "rocky" minerality and slight, pleasant "barnyard" that becomes more evident as the wine airs in the glass. Bright and juicy black fruit flavors are nicely balanced by tart, almost tangy acidity, with plums and earth in a long finish. Big but balanced; extra credit for intriguing complexity, although much of it derives from brettanomyces, a wild yeast that some consider a contaminant. US Importer: Paul Hobbs Argentina, Sebastopol, Calif. (Dec 6, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with a cross-cultural match, duck breast "red-cooked" Cantonese style with soy and star anise.

WEB LINK: http://www.paulhobbs.com/

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

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