A Tribute to World Malbec Day
Did you know that 17th April marks the 13th edition of World Malbec Day? And as Malbec is one of the most popular and accessible red grape varieties, it would be no hardship to celebrate!
Malbec is synonymous with Argentina but originated from France? A popular but unconfirmed theory claims that Malbec is named after a Hungarian peasant who first spread the grape variety throughout France. However, the French ampelographer, Pierre Galet, notes that most evidence suggest that Côt, as it is often known in France, was the variety’s original name and that it probably originated in northern Burgundy.
So what are the characteristics of Malbec? It’s a thick-skinned grape and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens mid-season and can bring very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavour component to add complexity to blends.
Malbec was first introduced into Argentina in the mid-19th century, and now, with over 40,000 hectares (compared to just 1200 in France) it accounts for 21% of all plantings in Argentina. The most highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley in the foothills of the Andes mountains between 800m and 1500m.
In France Malbec’s main home is the appellation of Cahors in South-West France. It’s also found in some of the red wines of the Tourraine in the Loire Valley where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay. And it’s one of the six red grape varieties used in Bordeaux blends, albeit usually in small quantities.
As you may be aware, we’re big fans of the wine from The Wine Society and, whilst there we have no financial affiliation with them, here are a few Malbec’s from them that you can try: