Published on May 28th, 2013 | by1
Tilia Malbec 2011
I’m from Alabama and consider myself from the South. Now, let’s go way further south. Think thousands of miles away on the other side of the earth (in terms of North to South). All the way down below the equator to Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza, is about a 12 hour drive West from Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires and a relatively meager, five and a half hour drive – albeit through seemingly treacherous mountains – to Chile’s capital, Santiago, directly to the Southwest (as the crow flies). Do we have our bearings now?
Mendoza is no New York City. In fact, according to Tilia’s website, “Life in Mendoza is slow.” To me, that sounds quite nice, as I’d prefer the growers and makers of my wine to not be in such a rush. Mendoza is also known for its arid climate, which many consider to be prime for growing lush, ripe grapes. Due to the overall dry climate and desert-like soils in the area, the vines and grapes have to have people dedicated to paying close attention and nurturing them every step of the way.
To preface this review, I must mention that I’ve had the Tilia Malbec on a number of occasions. The most recent few vintages are a mainstay at my neighborhood B&M on the 3 for $21 shelf. While the discount shelf can often be chocked full of cheaply-made, sticky-sweet wines, there’s often a few diamonds in the rough and for me, the Tilia Malbec is definitely one of the ones worth going back for.
Having had the 2011 vintage before, I knew roughly what to expect: a pretty good wine for the price. However, never having reviewed this wine, I was curious how (or if) my thoughts would change while really paying close attention to every detail and nuance along the way. Moving on…
The Tilia bottle is a typical 750 ml bottle. Its off-white label has the “Tilia” name, grape, and vintage and an image of the Tilia tree, which is a very ubiquitous tree in the Mendoza area from which its flowers are used to make a calming, herbal tea. The foil and screw cap are a rich bronze color.
The first few whiffs were fairly mellow. I picked up hints of dark cherry and some spicy, black pepper scents. After a few swirls, the tiniest floral notes started to come to the forefront. All in all, the aroma – while pleasant – was not very complex.
The first half glass was quite nice. Dark fruits, purple berries, chalk, and a pleasant dryness were all noticeable right off the bat. The rocky, chalky, minerality was slight, but something I’d never noticed in this wine before and was very pleased to have noticed it now.
Towards the second half of my first glass, the dryness was not only present, but lingered for quite some time on the tongue.
For the second glass I decided to try to amp things up by using my aerator to pour the wine into my glass and allow a lot more oxygen in with hopes that the wine would open up more. Immediately the floral notes I picked up on in the aroma were present and – along with the dryness – an unexpected sticky, sweetness lingered in my mouth. That was consistent through the second and third glass (which was not aerated).
Talk about a tremendous bang for your buck, the Tilia 2011 Malbec was uniform, not too complex, but delicious every step of the way, smooth, and easy to drink. And all that at an extremely budget-friendly price. Tilia wines are also very easy to find in the US as the brand is widely distributed stateside. Be sure to check out your local wine retailer for a bottle of any of their wines or grab a bottle online for 10 bucks –
This wine is great to drink on its own, but you may also want to have a nice, dark chocolate (65% cacao or higher) on hand as it would be a delicious compliment while drinking. Enjoy!