Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec Mendoza Review

Coming from the Lujan de Cuyo region in Mendoza, the Viñalba Gran Reservado is one of our favorite mid-price Argentinian Malbec wines.

As the flagship of the range, this wine was carefully curated by Hervé Fabre, IWC Red Winemaker of the year, a legend known throughout the world and recognized internationally for recognizing the potential of Malbec grown in high-altitudes.

While the terroirs of Argentina are well known for producing quality Malbec, historically this has tended to skew towards the lower-altitude areas, and it is a true pleasure to see the high altitude areas begin to shine in their own right as they become internationally recognized for producing quality wine, and Malbec Argentina can be proud of.

Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec Mendoza
Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec Mendoza

A common feature in many Malbec, Viñalba Gran Reservado features strong warm notes of plum fruits – arguably the most defining quality of Argentinian Malbec. Past the plum, we have the joy of experiencing some other classic Malbec notes (including mild vanilla) before descending into more unusual scents and tastes – even those boarding on floral.

Despite strong tannins, they are not overpowering, and instead move forward with a form of almost delicate power, both smooth and strong, culminating in an incredible mouthfeel and a lengthy finish which truly brings the wine to a wonderful conclusion. It is rare to find a powerful wine which doesn’t have overpowering notes, and here Hervé’s genius becomes evident, with each layer of taste and scent delicately overlapping despite the strong profile, allowing you to relish each sip and experience the full flavor profile of the wine.

These strong flavor notes are somewhat strengthened by the alcohol content of the wine, clocking in at 14.5%. Perhaps the only marginal improvement here, in our view, would be aiming for a marginally lower alcohol content – somewhere nearer the 13.5%-14% range, which may allow some of the more delicate floral and sweet notes a little more room to shine. It should be noted though that this is really a criticism born from the desire to look for one – this is a hard wine to beat.

Pairing the Malbec

If you’re looking for a great malbec pairing, we’d always recommend serving a Malbec, and especially one as powerful as this, with strong flavored meats – venison, game, or beef steak. Outside of the classics, we’re also a fan of using Malbec as a pairing with some cheeses – so check out the article above if that’s something you’d like to discover further.

It’s always best to ensure that any good malbec pairing encompasses the strong notes of the wine, so we would urge caution if pairing this with more delicate strong pairings – for example, it’s likely that this wine would overpower some more delicate game such as duck or some types of patê.

Whether pairing this Malbec with food or enjoying it alone (although hopefully in company!) you are sure to have a great experience. Ultimately, the best pairing for Malbec, and for any wine, is simple – pair with great company, and you’ll always find the wine to exceed your expectations.

Our final notes

As a final note, while this wine is incredible straight out the bottle, if you’d really like it to excel then we’d strongly recommend decanting to ensure you get the best possible experience. You can easily find a good wine decanter (or a speed decanter, straight from the bottle) at many supermarkets, wine merchants, or of your course favorite online retailer.

We made our way through two bottles through the tasting, but didn't finish the third!
We made our way through two bottles through the tasting, but didn’t finish the third!

Although being traditionally corked, and somewhat aged, we had no problems easily uncorking these bottles – which saves a lot of time decanting if you’d prefer to get started and jump straight into a glass. This being said, our previous notes here on the subtle flavors are enhanced by decanting, so if you have the time, we’d strongly recommend doing so.

Ranking up there with our favorite Argentinian Malbecs, Viñalba Gran Reservado is definitely one you need to try. We find that the flavor profile and mouthfeel exceed expectations significantly, and in our blind FineWineMaster taste tests this wine has frequently scored far higher than other, noticeably more expensive, Malbecs.

Combined with all the positive characteristics evident, just save yourself some time and grab a bottle while you can!

3 thoughts on “Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec Mendoza Review

  1. Rob Wilson

    Couldn’t agree more – this is a fantastic Malbec! I’ve always been a fan of Argentinian wines in general but as long as I live I’ll always have a soft spot for Malbecs.

    Fabre absolutely worked his magic on this, 5/5 from me.

    • finewinemaster

      Great to see you love the wine too Rob! Do you mind if I ask whether or not you decanted before drinking? We tried it both with and without decanting and while it typically makes a difference, on the Viñalba Malbec it seemed to make a pretty phenomenal difference.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      • Rob Wilson

        I decanted too, didn’t try it straight from the bottle unfortunately so can’t offer a comparison. It was incredibly smooth, though.

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