Thursday, October 6, 2022

Weekend Sip: It’s National Red Wine Day — here’s a great $10 bottle to mark the occasion

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The bottle

Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2020, $9.99

The back story

It’s no secret that Americans’ thirst for wine has grown over the years, with total wine consumption roughly doubling from 565 million gallons in 2020 to 1.1 billion gallons in 2021, according to the Wine Institute. It’s also no secret that Americans don’t like to spend a lot on vino: One survey found that 68% opt for bottles that are priced $20 or less.

So what should Americans consider sipping, particularly if they’re looking to keep to that value-priced category?

In my mind, there’s one very clear answer: Argentinian Malbec. And if you had to pick one lower-priced option, I’d suggest the Trapiche winery’s Oak Cast Malbec.

Malbec is a European varietal — it’s used in marking Bordeaux red wine — but it has become very much associated with Argentina of late. It’s known for producing a dark-colored wine — one that “seduces consumers from the point of view of color,” says Trapiche winemaker Sergio Eduardo Casé — with plenty of flavor (think especially black fruit). In all, I’d say Malbec is a wine very much geared for the American palate — approachable to the point of being a little bold and also good with a wide gamut of foods.

Malbec’s history in Argentina dates back to the 19th Century. It’s a grape that grows well in the country, especially because of warm, dry conditions, according to Casé. Production really started to take off in the last couple of decades, as the country’s winemakers used it to tap into the American market, particularly with bottles at a lower pricing.

Trapiche, a winery with a history going back to 1883, is no exception to this trend. It produces Malbecs at all price levels, with the top of the line going for about $100. The Oak Cask is at the lower end of the spectrum at $9.99, which perhaps explains why it’s Trapiche’s best-selling wine. In the U.S. alone, Trapiche sells 120,000 cases of it per year.

What we think about it

It’s probably an overstatement, but I’m hard-pressed to think of a $10 wine I’ve enjoyed more of late than Trapiche Oak Cask. It hits all the right notes of deliciousness — you’ll pick up blackberries and plums, the label says — but doesn’t overwhelm the palate. If you want a Malbec that’s a little more refined, with added depth, you can go up in price and try the Trapiche Gran Medalla for $29.99.

How to enjoy it

The Oak Cask pairs well with many foods, the Trapiche team says. Try grilled meats, pasta dishes or semi-hard cheeses.

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