Malbec

Since the first World Malbec Day in 2011, the number of countries, cities and events organised across the world celebrating this variety, has increased year on year. We’re pleased to be able to offer some interesting wines on tasting in the store on Friday. As the cooler weather arrives and the evenings get shorter, we’re all thinking of what reds we can try this winter so make sure you try some Malbecs!

Malbec was originally grown in both in Bordeaux and the southwest of France, in Cahors. However the phylloxera virus in the 1800s decimated large plantings of the grape followed by the severe frosts of 1956 in Bordeaux. While plantings were reduced in France, the new world saw an increased love for the grape. It all started back in 1853 when Malbec was taken to Argentina by Michel Aimé Pouget, an agronomist. By the end of the 1800s, the plantings had increased, helped no doubt by the number of newly arrived French and Italian immigrants. It was actually on the 17th of April that a bill was submitted to create the first school of agriculture in Argentina, hence one of the reasons for celebrating the variety on this day.

Malbec is mainly found in the wine regions of Mendoza and San Juan where the soils are calcareous but not fertile which helps to keep the yields down. There is little rainfall, just about 8 inches a year but the snow in the Andes means there is irrigation. Other varieties grown here are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Malbec is also found in smaller quantities in the less famous wine regions of Patagonia, Salta and La Rioja.

Malbec produces some wonderful wines; some are made for immediate drinking while others are capable of years, if not decades of ageing. The variety is intensely dark in colour with aromas of cherries, strawberries and plums. If aged in oak it can develop some wonderful flavours of coffee and chocolate with hints of vanilla. The tannins can be soft and silky. Malbec is at home in Argentina but it can be found in a few other countries including Australia where they are producing some interesting wines made from the single variety or in a blend.

We look forward to seeing you in the store on Friday!