Argentine Steak and Malbec (or not...)

If you’ve already read my first introductory post you’ll be aware that this whole blog thing came into existence after writing weekly wine previews for friends in our ‘Wednesday Night Poker Wine Club’ to introduce the following night’s bottle. In my next few posts I’ll be sharing some reworked versions. This was written for the Catena Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 - the ‘Special Selection for The Wine Society’ version.


Argentina - Maradona and Messi, Tango (dancing not the orange fizzy drink), Evita and 'Steak and Malbec'.

Tomorrow we are having steak and an Argentine red...except, perhaps sacrilegiously, it is not Malbec. Which seems weird and blasphemous, breaking a partnership that is iconic due to its repeated successes and ability to never ever disappoint. Steak and Argentine Malbec is Torvill and Dean, Ant and Dec, Simon and Garfunkel, Ambrose and Walsh, Fortnum and Mason. However, do not fret as we would not eschew such a winning partnership without a more than worthy alternative. Catena, a large producer famed for their Malbec, also do a stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that we shall be devouring. One of the world’s most known and revered grapes, it is more than up to the job of replacing a malbeccy legend - Chris Cornell to Malbec's Zak de la Rocha, Cristiano replacing Beckham, Craig taking over from Brosnan.



Cabernet Sauvignon is grown all over the world and its late budding (helping it avoid rot and insects), thick skins and hardiness mean it is the most planted grape in the world, just pipping Merlot. Despite this, it is a relatively new grape - created in the 17th century after a Southwest French crossing of Cab Franc and Sauv Blanc. Like much of Europe at that time it is sometimes looked upon with suspicion and judgement; it is known as a 'coloniser' that takes over indigenous varieties due to its ease and success. But, unlike much of actual colonisation, we can enjoy this bottle with zero guilt as no large communities were pillaged or massacred.

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that helps the aging potential. In cooler climates it tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes, while in very hot climates the currant flavours can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly Coonawarra, it tends to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol note -splash out on a bottle of Majella to taste this style at its absolute best.

Onto the details for this particular bottle...The imposing and stunning Bodega Catena Zapata winery, modelled on an ancient truncated Mayan pyramid, is set against a stunning backdrop of vast, open skies and the awe-inspiring Andes and created this lovely ripe and balanced cabernet. Rich blackcurrant, cedary and spicy nose with a full yet fresh palate with sweet tannins.

In honour of its Argentine homeland, it seems only right that we honour this bottle with a steaky slab of deliciousness (ribeye I reckon) and a healthy dollop of chimichurri sauce (

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