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Wine of the Week for week ending 2 September 2001
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The Michael Craig Selection Malbec 2000
Marlborough, New Zealand

Malbec, or Cot as it is known in some parts of France, didn't even figure in the New Zealand grape industry statistics until 1997. Since then the production has increased by a factor of 6.

Last year (2000) 363 tonnes of the grapes were produced and although 70% came from Hawkes Bay, the few tonnes of fruit harvested from the Marlborough region looks indeed exceptional.

The proof is in a wine called The Michael Craig Selection Malbec 2000 made from 100% Marlborough fruit.

Michael Craig Selection Malbec 2000 This wine is as dense a coloured wine as I've seen from NZ, it so deep you wouldn't want to spill it on your clothes. It's the opaque colour of ripe blackberries with almost opaque deep purple/crimson rims.

There's a touch of bready fruit on the nose - it's pretty subtle but there's nothing subtle about the taste, which is just as intense as the colour. There's plenty of juicy fruit with ripe blackberries, black plum, blackcurrant and sweet raspberry pepper spice bound together with sweet, vanillin oak that's well integrated and balanced to the fruit. Then there's some earthy duskiness, sweet leather and crisp tannins with a fairly good acid backbone, indicating there's plenty of life ahead in this wine.

The lingering finish is full on too, with dense black fruit and lifted spice. Gosh, this wine is good.

It's 13.0% alcohol, so nicely warming for the last 'official' week of the 'down under' winter.

Malbec in New Zealand is primarily used as a blending grape, to add colour and richness to the Bordeaux blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

It's rare to see a 100% Malbec. This is one you should try and its price of $24.95 is pretty good these days, I reckon, for a wine of this quality.

For more information on where to buy, contact Michael Jemison, a wine lover turned wine distributor. He had the wine made especially for his company - Macvine International Ltd. His e-mail is

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