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Sip on the 'gnarly' side with this malbec

Gnarly vines take center stage
Gnarly vines take center stage
Julia Hollister

Gnarly Head Cellars – California’s original zinfandel with vines that resemble unruly umbrellas – traveled to the Southern Hemisphere for a unique malbec.

Winemakers were convinced that zinfandel is not the only grape that can be gnarly. In that search, they traveled to Mendoza, Argentina, the gnarliest (most extreme) region on earth. They found high elevation vines, under snow-capped Andes Mountains that created powerful, concentrated wine. The sandy well-draining soils cause the malbec vines to send their roots deep into the earth that result intense wines with concentrated black fruit character.

The 2012 vintage ($12) is muscular, inky and bold and definitely not for “newbies.” This dark red, chewy selection is bursting with dark berry aromas and blueberry, chocolate and blackberry sauce flavors with hints of plum and spice.

Take care with pairing this big, daring varietal. Pour this with rich casserole dishes, such as meat-laden lasagna, grilled steak, rustic bread slathered with chili peppers and olive oil and pulled pork sandwiches.

Gnarly Head label carries the mantra of the bold wine in the bottle: “Here’s to the vines and to a life lived boldly. These heroic vines produce intense fruit flavors that are matched only by the passions of the people who drink them.”