This wine is $10. Right, now I have your attention. All red cherry, all plum, all the time. Some smokiness and bitter chocolate/black leather—your choice—at the end of a sip. Learn to love this. It’s disruptive, for sure. You smell this, you drink it, thinking oh yeah, very pleasant, it’s on the light-bodied side, this is the softer side of Malbec, only 13.2% alcohol, no oak at all, very food friendly with refreshing acidity that would pair it well with charcoal-grilled beef or chicken kabobs or lamb chops or a beet salad or curried kale . . . but something disrupts all that pleasantry, a faintly bitter jolt of darkness or, even, cynicism. You didn’t think I’d recommend a wine that stays on one note, did you? It’s the interplay of dichotomies that makes this Argentinian Malbec far more interesting than it has a right to be for the price. If you ask, is the 2011 EL LIBRE Malbec a great wine? My answer is: the wine is ten dollars—what d’you want?? If the question is, is this a great ten-dollar wine? Answer: fuck yeah. And I can say that with confidence because if I added up all the money I’ve spent on bullshit ten-dollar wines trying to find a great one, I arrive at the sober realization that I could have bought a Chateau Margaux instead.
An aside. Wine laborers and producers in Argentina these days are on the streets protesting the strong arm of government intervention in regard to trade policy that kills the economic viability of small, local wineries as the nation grapples with a crippling hyperinflation problem. As a U.S. consumer, you can feel good about putting your dollar towards a product of a winery like the Revolution Wine Company, the winery that produces this Malbec,who are still able to export low-priced wines while still maintaining high quality. Wineries like this one are forced to be more creative and adapt technology to retain market share. Great website, by the way. Great branding.
This Malbec is a young “jovenes” wine from young vines, meant to be drank early. Don’t wait for anything. This is wine for the Now Generation, the generation that grew up with iThis and iThat. Join the revolution, by all means. –J.M.