Salta isn’t a region most folks immediately associate with wine from Argentina. Cuyo seems to dominate the conversation, especially Mendoza, but the humble territory from the north quietly turns out wines just as engaging that present the country’s versatile terroir. Colomé is one of those vineyards showing its Salta roots with pride, and today we get the privilege to enjoy three of its latest offerings as well as revisit one from the not-too-distant past.
2021 Colomé Estate Malbec – As expected this is big on blackberry and red fruit but tempered with graphite and light floral notes in the glass. On the palate, spice, oak, and black pepper eventually surround the dark fruit core, helping support mild acidity and big tannins. The drying finish provides quite a bit of heat, held together by notes of leather and dark cherry, but it never becomes monotonous or overbearing. This year carries on the Estate label’s track record of consistency without sacrificing complexity and balance and, regardless of geography, is certainly one of the best Argentinian Malbecs to be found at this price point. A- / $28
2018 Colomé Estate Malbec (revisited) – After my first experience with Colomé Estate, I purchased a second bottle meant for revisiting in 2022. Time and memory slipped away and judging from the results, I may have let it rest a bit too long. Like all Estate offerings, this one plays the expected hits of blackberry, pepper, and oak. However, it lacks some of the complexity that made the first bottle of this vintage so grand to enjoy, with the dark fruit overpowering the earthier elements throughout. Still a beautiful bottle, though. A- / $30
2021 Colomé Auténtico Malbec – And now for something mildly different: A 100% Malbec from Colomé’s best vineyards, but unlike the Estate offering, aged 10 months in the tank and 10 months in the bottle. Whereas the Estate is a blend of grapes at various altitudes and soils, this is a single vineyard offering. Big on blackberry upfront with notes of violet, graphite and anise that is a bit unsteady at first but settles down eventually. Full flavored on the palate with fig, tobacco leaf and mocha all battling their way through the dark fruit to add some nuance and balance. The finish is dry but the tannins and dark fruit gently fade without being too abrasive. This one was fun to keep around for an evening in deep winter solitude and shows just how elegant and refined a Malbec can be without an overreliance on oak aging. A / $42
2023 Colomé Torrontés – And now for something completely different: a Torrontés. Which isn’t a complete surprise, but a welcome one nevertheless. Previous vintages have featured a percentage of Riesling as a blend, but this year it’s 100% Torrontés. Highly aromatic from the onset with notes of grapefruit, jasmine, nectarine and lemon zest running throughout. The intensity is prevalent throughout, right up to the lengthy and crisp finish where the herbal elements cut through a bit more. A delightful curveball after enjoying the malbecs. B+ / $14