2005 Catena Alta Malbec

Hey, it’s rained a few drops, ushering in the season for reds, ready or not. For fans of lush red wines, the 2005 Catena Alta Malbec, from a wine family that’s been in the business for four generations, has everything going for it. Rich and ripe, with overtones of spice and dark berries, this is about as elegant a red as you’ll find anywhere. And at less than $50, it can hold its own against old-world reds at twice the price. The beautiful thing is that it’s understated and fine-tuned enough to join the table as an honored guest.

Drink it with a rotisserie duck, braised beef, a generous roast or some venison.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Quick swirl

Region: Mendoza (Argentina)

Price: About $43.

Style: Rich and full-bodied.

What it goes with: Roast beef, braised meats, venison and duck.


Where you find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita (949) 888-9007,; the Wine Club in Santa Ana (714) 835-6485,; Wine Exchange in Orange (714) 974-1454 and (800) 769-4639,