Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

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There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.

Four Argentinian malbecs to explore

Don David Blend Of Terroirs Malbec Malbec 2018.

Don David Blend Of Terroirs Malbec Malbec 2018

£9 Co-op, 14%.

Lovely, dark cherry fruit from high-altitude vineyards 1,700m and 1,900m above sea level, and Fairtrade, too. Amazingly good value.

Caro Amancaya Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Amancaya Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

£17.95 Waddesdon Manor, £17.99 Davis Bell McCraith, 14.5%.

Sophisticated, stylish bordeaux blend (proportions vary. Sometimes there’s more cabernet). Delicious now, but will keep.

Concreto Malbec 2018, Zuccardi.

Zuccardi Concreto Malbec 2018

£27.95, 14%.

Fresh, vibrant, mouthwateringly delicious, made in concrete tanks, not barrels: a thoroughly modern malbec.

Los Poetas Malbec 2017

Los Poetas Malbec 2017 £10.99 (on offer) Roberts & Speight in Beverley, East Yorkshire, 14.5%. Gratifyingly ripe, supple fruit at the perfect moment to drink. A cracker.

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