Landelia Malbec, 2005

Maybe Rowan Gormley took offence at my assessment of Virgin Wines as good for everyday glugging because he dropped me an email suggesting that I try something more serious from the Virgin stable.  I already have problems with my neighbours over a Leylandii hedge, so being an anagrammatic sort of a guy, this Landelia sounded appealing.  And in any case, since I am a sucker for pretty much any Argentinean Malbec, I had to try it.

Fast growing wine but is it neighbourly?

When I opened the bottle I was stunned by the deep purple colour of the cork end.  Was this the Ritchie Blackmore of wines, a heavy metal odyssey through the new world of South America?  It certainly had a hedonistic and intoxicating nose.  Maybe not enough to deliver the fall of Troy but I guessed it was at least 14.5% alcohol.  It turned out to be a much tamer, refined, and “old world” 13.5%.  I got a really strong smell of burning heather, something sweet and caramelising like barbecued banana skin.

The taste was less bitter than most Malbecs and reminded me of blackberry soaked sponge cake, fresh plums, pork crackling and tarragon.  Sounds strange, and the wine is definitely unpredictable and a bit different, but I loved it.  Good wine always offers something new and this offered Smoke on the Water combined with fruity, spicy, sweet and earthy elements.  A Trojan horse of a wine that once opened, releases an onslaught of taste warriors to attack your palate when you least expected it.  Landelia is available from Virgin Wines at only £8.49 which just goes to show that great value wine is still available from South America.

By the way, if you have never tried barbecuing bananas they are gorgeous.  Simply throw them on the barbie in their skins for about 15-20 minutes turning regularly.  If the skins start to pop they are done.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Mmmmm.

10 Responses to “Landelia Malbec, 2005”

  1. Douglas Says:

    I think you would like Plantains.

  2. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Tried them and didn’t get on, which is strange. Maybe I under-cooked them?

  3. monkey Says:

    i have yet to try a malbec, could you recommend anything? i have just applied to join the wine society after reading it in your blog and looking on the site hopefully i will get some nice wines.
    try cutting your bananas and inserting maltesers down the middle then wrap in foil, cook until ready. a trick i learned from m uni days. yum yum

  4. Alastair Bathgate Says:


    I’d definitley try this Landelia from Virgin. Also look at the supermarkets. Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury for example all do well priced Malbecs. I also love most of Susana Balbo’s malbecs which are often available from the Wine Society, and the Gaucho Grill (beware Gaucho prices though – retail and resto).

  5. monkey Says:

    thanks Alastair, will give those a try i have been shopping mostly at oddbins recently as the supermarkets dont seem to be offering me anything exciting hence joining a wine club.

  6. KK Says:

    The best malbec I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a few) is Carmelo Patti. I tried it for the first time last year in Argentina and was sad to discover that the maker had no importer in the UK. I was delighted last week in Gaucho to discover it on the “fine wine” part of the wine list. It’s worth every penny.

  7. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    I’ve just rescued your comment from my slightly aggresive spam filter. I wish I had seen it earlier because I was at the Gaucho in Manchester on Thursday. My only problem with the Gaucho wine list is the mark-ups which are super high. For example I recently reviewed the TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES Reserva 2005 (Costco £8.68) where the Gaucho charges an eye-watering £36.55 per bottle. Otherwise the food, wine and atmosphere is excellent.
    I think you can learn a lot about someone from their email address. I am going to guess that you were at the Chancery Lane Gaucho and you are probably well placed to help me with my Leylandii problem!
    Btw did you know that the Gaucho has an off licence “Cavas de Gaucho” at 25 Swallow Street, W1B 4DJ where it sells all the wines from the restaurant list. I can only find the CARMELLO PATTI Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (£20 per bottle) online but the shop should have the Malbec.

  8. Confessions of a Wino » Blog Archive » Auction shows me up as a virgin Says:

    […] terms of Virgin, browse the “Mix your own” pages where you will find delights like this Malbec – enormously preferable to the Marqués de […]

  9. Cris Says:

    I recommend Suzanna Balbo’s “Crios” Malbec or Vina Amalia’s “Dos Fincas” Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec as two of the best value Argentine wines out there.

  10. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Hi Cris

    As I noted above I am delighted to recommend any of Susana’s wines. 🙂

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