“Smokey Tobaccy”

Just tried the 2008 Cigar Box Malbec Reserve Wine… but let me explain why.  The label reads: “Drink with grilled meats, salmon or alone in your bedroom with the door locked… you’re the boss!”  Well, I am the boss and I could NOT put the bottle down with a description like that…  So I brought it home and opened it almost immediately.

Cigar Box Malbec

Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Varietal: 100% Malbec
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 13.5% by vol.
Acidity: 5.70 g/l
Residual Sugar: 8.5 g/l
pH: 3.40

The wine is interesting to say the least.


Taste: Highly fruity.  There are hints of plum and berry throughout the taste.  But there is also a little bit of a heavy accent of vanilla that weighs down the taste quite a bit.  The smell is part and parcel of the wine’s taste- it does live up to its name.  It smells like you’ve just opened an old spice rack with tobacco in it.  Is that a thing?  Do people keep that stuff around?  In any event, the smell and dark look of the wine leads you to believe you are going to taste a smokey, rich, woody drink.  Unfortunately, that is not what you get.  Its fruit flavor is so powerful it almost feels like the wine needed to age a little longer.  It tastes, for lack of a better word, young.  The acidity and pH are in the normal range for a red wine like this: 5.8g/l in acidity and a pH of 3.4, but are in fact on the high and low end (inversely related, the lower the pH the higher the acidity level).  So, I think part of the terse, and affronting taste is actually just the acid level with is a little high for drinking it alone.  That is without food… anyway.  I’m always happy to drink alone 🙂

Texture: The texture is.. well.. lacking.  The taste is smooth, which is something one usually would like in a drink, but in this case, it’s basically boring.   The texture is so thin, it almost tastes a little like juice.  I was a little surprised that Ben didn’t like it more-  not dry, pretty fruity, but according to him, it also had a strong bitter after taste.  While tannins can add a grit that I like, I think I can actually attribute the pucker taste during and the bitter taste after to the tannins from the grape skins of the Malbec grapes.

Overall: I really like the fact that the wine is entirely hand harvested.  Every grape is picked, destemmed and then crushed by people, no machines.  I think that’s great.  However, I really didn’t like that I can’t drink this without food.  I like Malbecs because they are tasty and should be fun to drink.  I didn’t feel that way about this one… it was a little weight-heavy in vanilla, too strong in fruity flavor (tastes like it’s flavor infused almost) and then the bitter taste after makes it tough to have on its own.  I liked that the plum was perceptible and I think leaving it out to aerate a bit will be helpful.  (After note: just had it with some spicy beans and rice, I think it stands up MUCH better than it did on its own… so in its defense, not great on its own, but a good companion with spicy food.  In all honesty, it might be that spicy food distracts from the weird flavor, but it”s worth mentioning that I am enjoying more with food).

Julia Uncorked Says: 6/10: Not bad as long as you pair it with some bold food!

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2 Responses to ““Smokey Tobaccy””

  1. I haven’t tasted this wine but I did hear a funny story. Apparently they are getting sued because of their label. They pretty much copied ‘Layer Cake Malbec’ exactly only with a cigar box instead of a piece of cake.

    Check it out: http://naresh.com/2010/04/24/layer-cake-malbec-2007/

  2. WHAT? That is crazy! I thought it looked familiar… weird that I blogged about both (https://juliauncorked.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/cake/). I need to branch out– maybe I’m just attracted to that look!?

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