It was an awfully nice spring evening to sit on the porch with a glass of….Uh oh! We’re out of wine! Actually, this was 2 evenings ago, and we had a very small amount remaining in a bottle from the previous day, about a glass, and one very cold Moosehead. I had the Moose (um um good), Wife had the wine. Clearly, wine shopping was at the top of the next days to-dos, but we failed to assign the task. So I brought home a $7.99 (1.5 liter) Marcus James Malbec, and one of those stack-em-high, special purchase, super saver deals, a $6.99 Chardonnay we’ll talk about in the near future. Wife also brought home a different super saver, big stack, special buy French white that was also $6.99, a bottle of Skinny Girl (don’t get me started), and a Cheapskate 1.5 liter Merlot from Fisheye, which we’ll visit soon. The Marcus James got opened first (followed immediately by the Skinny Girl).
Marcus James is an Argentinian, from Mendoza. It is bottled by FeCoVitA Coop Ltda., an Argentine co-op that represents 30 Mendoza wineries and, since 1990, operates a bottling operation. Through this co-op, smaller, otherwise anonymous growers can participate in the export market for Latin American wine. We recently had the Don Miguel Gascon from this same area (see review) which we loved, but is considerably more expensive. When not on sale, Gascon is about $14.00 per 750 ml bottle, compared to only 8 bucks for a big bottle from Marcus James. This is a much better value. It’s big bodied, fairly acidic, mildly plummy, and quite good. The Gascon may be a tad smoother, maybe a smidge richer, but this wine is strong evidence of the disconnect between price and quality. Due to the unfortunate preconceptions shoppers, me included, naturally have about a wine this low priced, I have to say this is better than it’s supposed to be. I see no need at all to spend more for a Malbec. There are a number of other Marcus James products near the Malbec on the shelves. There is a Chardonnay, a Cabernet, and, I think, a Riesling. I’ve learned to have no expectation of consistent quality from grape to grape within a brand, but a positive experience, as with this Malbec, certainly leaves me inclined to try them.