Wine of the Week: 2007 Alto Las Hormigas Vineyard Selection Reserva Malbec

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This little lady flew in all the way from Argentina to treat my taste buds. Never one to rudely dismiss a free sample, or anything related to a South American Malbec, I took one for the team and tasted it for the good of humanity.

Newly distributed here in Houston, this Alto Las Hormigas is one sultry seductress of a Malbec. Oozing oak and sophistication, it's the total package when it comes to depth, alcohol and just a general feeling of satisfaction after the first sip.

If it were a woman, men would want to marry her, women would want to be her and dresses would pay her to wear them. Yes, she is the wine equivalent of Joan Holloway of "Mad Men" in a lbd (little black dress for those of you not up to date with your fashion lingo).

She's a deep maroon and mulberry with a thickness that's pleasing to the eye. Her legs go on for days and coat the glass like butter on a hot skillet. The aroma contains surprisingly strong oak followed by corn tortillas (I know, right?) and a touch of cedar. Thrown off a bit by the corn tortilla part? So was I. Think of it as a tiny bit of Peggy Olson thrown in for a cuteness factor. Joan's great for the sultry part, but Peggy's got the wit and idiosyncrasies that keep things interesting.

Not surprisingly, the oak hits hard on the palate. The warmth of the oak and alcohol is nicely balanced by the acidity, which reminded me of sour cherries and the edge of a plum, right where the skin meets the flesh. The tannins are definitely present, and leave your mouth feeling slightly dry in between sips, but not in an unpleasant way.

This wine would be ridiculously good aged a few more years, not unlike the lovely Joan Holloway, who just seems to get better with each season.

Look for it in Spec's, where you can find it $20-$25.

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