93 Point Wine Advocate: Familia Belasco’s 2008 Swinto Malbec was sourced from a 100-year-old vineyard planted exclusively to Malbec with yields of a meager 1.5 tons per acre. It was aged for 18 months in new French oak and bottled without filtration. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it sports an inviting nose of pain grille, mineral, licorice, espresso, violets, black cherry and black raspberry. Dense and layered on the palate, this loaded, already complex effort will profit from 4-5 years of cellaring and should see its 20th birthday in full form.
SWINTO is “Crow” in the language of the Huarpe Indians, the first inhabitants of the Mendoza river valley. Meticulous selection of the best clusters capture the greatest expression of the Malbec grape, enhanced by malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels and aging in the same barrels for 18 months. A brilliant deep garnet color. Complex, darkly fruity and earthy on the nose, with a luscious palate of ripe red stone fruits and jams accented with spicy, toasty notes. Generously flavorful, dense and unfiltered, Swinto achieves an outstanding balance of Malbec’s signature robust character and silky elegance.
Grown mostly in South America, its popularity has made it almost synonymous with Argentina, the wine producing powerhouse which has now adopted the varietal as it's national grape. While many offer bursting juicy fruit including blackberries, cherries, and plums, the grape is also capable of extended oak-ageing adding spice box, tobacco and leather aromas, as well as a richer texture on the pallate. Originally a vineyard neighbor alongside Carmenere (another French expat) in Bordeaux, Malbec is mostly planted in the neighboring regions of south west France. The town of Cahor, just north east of Bordeaux, is probably the varietals most important region in the country, where it's required to make up at least 70% of the blend. Although a simplification, French versions tend to be drier and more tannic, however they can still display great concentration and depth.