Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec Mendoza 2014

Dark purple color with hint of translucence; black cherry, plum, pepper on the nose; black cherry, black raspberry, plum, black olive, spice on the palate.

Medium-full body, somewhat chewy tannins, middle-stream acidity makes for soft, round, easy drinker in this value pour. The Oak Cask name signals there will, indeed, be oak and some vanilla, but it is admirably not over-the-top.

Price and approachability is why Argentine malbecs took off in the past decade-plus, and Trapiche was one of the early successes. It is one of the oldest brands in Argentina (established 1883). The Argentine Bemberg family purchased the winery in 2010 from the Penaflor Group/Pulenta family, keeping ownership and control in Argentina. Trapiche has almost 3,000 vineyard acres in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, and purchases additional fruit from more than 200 independent growers. The winery produces wine in all price ranges.

Many of Trapiche grapes go into grape concentrate, which helps make Argentina the leading grape concentrate producer on earth. Trapiche also is Argentina’s largest exporter of premium wines, selling in more than 80 countries. The Oak Cask Malbec effort has significant oak, but it is integrated so as not to be annoying. Oak staves augment the barrels used in the aging, the only way a maker can deliver this quality at this low price. Great every-day, pop-and-pour, sit-back-and-slurp Malbec at a seriously good price. Widely available. $9-13

Traphiche website

Second photo: Trapiche vineyards in Mendoza.