Budini 2003 Mendoza Malbec ($11.00)
Very dark garnet, black at the center, recalling the old (and generally not currently applicable) reputation of the Malbec of Cahors as "black wine." Appealing black-cherry and berry aromas are typical of good. fruit-forward Argentine Malbec. It hits the palate with a brief impression of luscious softness, but that's quickly pulled back with lemon-squirt acidity and barely perceptible tannins, finishing clean, long and dry. Although it sees a bit of oak (five months in small, year-old French and American casks), wood is apparent only as a spice, and that mouth-watering acidic snap makes it a palate-cleansing food wine. US Importer: Vine Connections, Sausalito, Calif. (Jul 19, 2005)
FOOD MATCH: I like Malbec even more than Chianti with pizza, but on this occasion it made a stunning match with a more hearty dish of home-smoked mesquite pork chops.
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