The Aruma Malbec 2018 is a joint project between Nicolas Catena and Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) of Bordeaux fame. Both represent families that have been in the wine trade since the 1800s.
They created Bodegas Caro is 1999 which is dedicated to growing high altitude (the vineyards 3,000 feet above sea level) focusing on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Malbec was once a prominent wine in Bordeaux. Problems with disease and pests over the years have led to a decline in Bordeaux Malbec.
None of the issues that plagued French Malbec exist high up in the Andes foothills. Argentinean vineyards are planted above the line where pests can flourish and the mountain plateaus provide plenty of uninterrupted, intense sunlight.
The days can be quite warm and the mountain nights are very cool which provides the grapevines ideal conditions. Heat up during the day, calm down and cool down at night, then repeat.
Aruma, which translates to “Night” in the local indigenous language is Bodegas Caro’s entry-level offering. I think it lists for $15 and should be found at a high volume wine shop for $12 to $13.
This Malbec is produced in the drink-it-now style, meaning drink it when you buy it. It will not necessarily improve with age if you cellar it, so it is not wise to wait to drink it.
Aruma Malbec 2018 is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in cement tanks. It has enough intense flavor and natural tannins that it does need oak barrel conditioning. Cement tanks keep the wine at a constant temperature, they are less affected by outside temps than steel tanks or wooden barrels.
Wine loves to be aged at constant temperature and humidity which is why caves are seen at the ideal place to store wine. I always find value-priced wines produced by wineries that focus on more expensive offerings to be interesting. They seem to have a different philosophy than wine made by value-wine producers. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
Aruma Malbec 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a seriously dark raspberry red. The nose is ripe blackberry, black pepper, plum, and soft spice. This Malbec has extracted focused flavors.
It starts with rich blackberry, and licorice, black tea, pepper, and soft spice. The mid-palate adds tart cranberry, slightly sweet blueberry, and some dusty tannins.
This is one of those wine that with your first glass you think, “this wine is nice.” With the second glass, you think, “this wine is very nice.” The flavors seem to bloom as the wine opens up.
- The Aruma Malbec 2018 is an excellent value-produce Malbec. There is plenty going on in the glass, you will not miss the lack of oak barrel aging.