Wine of the Week: 2008 Sawbuck Malbec

Categories: Wine Time

sawbuck.jpg
Oh, sweet nectar of the gods: Malbec. That once-forgotten varietal, making a comeback as a cheap red wine, with plenty of depth, that happens to be a pretty good deal in most cases, is the total package - the Angelina Jolie of the wine world, perhaps - minus all those adopted kids and the weird, freaky life with Brad Pitt. You can call it a bias, but it's definitely not a secret that Malbecs float my boat.

The 2008 Malbec out of Yolo County, California has many things going for it. First off, it's a Malbec, which automatically takes me to a happy place. Secondly, it's blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, two more of my favorite varietals. The Syrah adds a fruitiness of deep berry flavors like raspberry and currants, while the Cabernet lends its earthiness, making it a very intense and deep blend of reds.

As for the name of this blend, the term "sawbuck" originally referred to a sawhorse, which held wood for cutting in the 18th century. The X-shaped support at each end of the sawhorse resembled the Roman numeral for 10, which showed up on the U.S. $10 bill around the same time - hence the cheeky name and label design for this wine, which sells for around, you guessed it, $10.

Aside from being cheap and blended to perfection to combine the depth of a Cabernet with the fruitiness of a Syrah (with the perfection of a Malbec), this wine is not from down South America way, like all the others I've come across in my search for cheap, delicious red wines. It's from our avocado-growing neighbors to the West in California. I haven't seen a lot of Malbecs from the region.

Other than its berry, coffee and cocoa notes, there's an interesting spice that hits you immediately. That peppery perk is a great start to the glass and continues throughout, which keeps this wine interesting to the last drop. Not bad for something that'll only set you back a sawbuck...



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16 comments
SirRon
SirRon

There are a lot of good, inexpensive Malbecs (I dislike the term cheap, since words should matter in publishing) in the $10-$15 range. I wasn't aware that they were forgotten or are now making a comeback. However, something like a $30+ bottle of Tikal Amorio Malbec will remind you that a lot of the cheap stuff does lack the true depth of the good stuff. You wouldn't mix the two in a blind taste test.

Meagster212
Meagster212

Malbec yes. Lv, lv, lv. Especially with grilled beef.How do you find these great wines?!

GarmentdistNY
GarmentdistNY

'takes me to a happy place'...I love Malbec too. Cliches from foodie-dom, not so much.

'Not so much' about as I love foodie cliches.

Luvinthang69
Luvinthang69

."...a cheap red wine, with plenty of depth...it's definitely not a secret that Malbecs float my boat."

The depth of a five-foot pool is often considered plentiful by three year olds with little swimming experience.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

Hmm, thinking of organizing a blind tasting with some of the commenters, if you're all brave enough to do it.

Whaddya say? I also feel that $10 can be considered, "cheap" and a little bit over that, "inexpensive..." I know it's arbitrary, but in my mind, that's how I categorize it.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

At least we can agree on the Malbec love.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Luvinthang69, you're missing the point. Amber isn't claiming to be a master sommelier (not that I know of). She's approaching wine without pretense--I find it honest and refreshing. If want the advice of an expert then subscribe to Wine Spectator.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

I know what I like and what I don't like, and Malbecs usually fall into that category. So what you're saying is that my love of cheap, good red wines is as about as deep as the thought that went into your username, "luvinthang69"?

I jest, but in all seriousness, I am a firm believer that just because wines cost more, doesn't mean they taste better. It's proven all the time by blind tastings, etc.

SirRon
SirRon

Cheap is a word with a negative connotation. I wouldn't describe things that I like as "cheap."

I you organize a tasting, and if I am included, then I want to provide some if the wine.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

Clemvint - notice I only said, "depth" there was nothing in there related to beasts of any kind.

Billywynng
Billywynng

I think 'depth' was the key word, not cheap.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

I'd be happy to let you provide some, but only if you've never tasted them before. I'll try to organize something soon. Will def keep you in the loop.

Clemvint
Clemvint

malbecs as deep, structured, layered and complex beasts? nah

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

I got that too. I guess I do think it's possible to find an inexpensive red with lots of depth. Comparable to $50 + wines, in my experience.

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