Bodegas Norton 2003 Mendoza Malbec ($8.49)
Very dark reddish-purple, black at the center. Black-fruit aromas, plums and black cherries, lead into a ripe and juicy fruit flavor, open and fresh, shaped by mouth-watering acidity and a hint of the clay-like minerality that Argentine Malbec tends to show if it's not manipulated out. At half the price of Norton's Reserve bottling, it's a more appealing wine and a much better value. US Importer: TGIC Importers Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif. (Aug 3, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Malbec is becoming even more of a cliche than Chianti with pizza for me, and it was fine with a straightforward model topped with sausage, mushrooms, peppers and onions.

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