What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right? According to Bart Simpson, not if you called them Stench Blossoms, but I think I will stick with Shakespeare’s interpretation. Still, when it comes to wines, sometimes the name can be as appealing as the blend itself. Bogle’s Phantom, 19 Crimes, and Orin Swift’s The Prisoner all sport powerful, eye-catching names that draw us in to the brand more than the blend.
I can’t say that I haven’t fallen victim to a catchy name every now and again, but there is one word that always grabs my attention: Cigar. Even when it comes to my wine selections I feel my inner love of the leaf stir, and it has led me to some extremely tasty bottles, as you may remember with Cigar Zin. Today, we once again fall prey to my one-track mind with the Cigar Box 2012 Malbec Reserve.
This purchase was solely driven by the fact that the wine had “cigar” on the bottle. I had never tried a Malbec wine; to be honest I had never heard of the varietal. I was young and naive, (well, naive at very least) and had only just started learning, but I was taken hook, line, and sinker by the clean, white label adorned with a cedar box loaded to the brim with fine cigars. The purest definition of an impulse buy, I had to have it. At $10, it was a small price to pay for an adventure.
The Cigar Box 2012 Malbec Reserve is single-sourced from their own winery in the Lujan de Cuyo growing region, just outside of Mendoza, Argentina. After being bunch selected and hand harvested, the grapes are then destemmed and partially crushed. This is done to help preserve the fruitiness of the Malbec grape. The wine is then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.
I enjoyed my bottle with a couple of Flor de las Antillas Toros, which was as delicious a pairing as it was ironic. You pop the cork and are greeted with a floral sweetness mixed with something of a boozy undertone, like the smell of perfume in a bar. At 13.5% alcohol, this is to be expected, so decantering is suggested. Malbec wine is very rich with robust tannins, and pours with a deep purple color. It’s a meaty wine, bold but not overly so, with hints of tobacco, herbs, and juicy blackberry that came across as slightly tart. Despite the stronger flavor, the Cigar Box Malbec finishes with an unexpected softness.
For the price, this wine was a fantastic investment. Cigar Box has a few other varietals in their repertoire, including a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay, all around the same $10 price point. It’s a low-risk, high-reward purchase that can be enjoyed with dinner just as easily as in the back yard with a Good Smoke.