What you don’t know about Malbec, Argentina’s Super Star Grape
If there was a popularity contest for grapes, Malbec would definitely be top of its class. It’s a grape that has an old soul with a young and exciting energy. This beloved grape even has its very own day to celebrate – April 17th is Malbec World Day across the world. On this Spring day every year, Malbec lovers across the world pop bottles to salute this super-cool grape and revel in its joy and taste.
But what exactly is Malbec? Many assume that Malbec is a grape that comes from Argentina in South America, which much of it does. But, where did the Malbec grape actually originate from? Well, Malbec is actually one of the original grapes used in Bordeaux’s original red wine blend. Winemakers have been blending wine for a very long time, and this is where Malbec gains its historic roots. The grape is also called Auxerrois or Côt Noir in Cahors, France and can also be called Pressac in other regions around the world. Boasting lots of red and dark fruit on both the nose and palate with smooth and soft tannins, Malbec is very approachable and loved by many. There are good reasons why this grape is on the rise – there’s plenty of affordable bottles to try, the name is easy to remember and they can range from fresh and fun to dark and delicious too!
Unfortunately after 1956 frost killed off 75% of the Malbec crop. While overall planting of Malbec is slowing in France, the grape is surging in Argentina and has become a national or signature variety. First introduced to Argentina in the mid-19th century, Malbec rose to greater prominence and is the most widely planted red grape variety in the country today. If you’re interested in the differences between French Malbec and Argentinian Malbec, the French style is more rustic with darker fruits, and Malbec from Argentina tends to be more red fruit forward and approachable for the new world wine drinkers. Keep in mind, like most wine information, this is generalized and there are exceptions to every rule.
The Malbec grape is thin-skinned and needs more sun and heat than its brother grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Some of Argentina’s most highly rated and complex Malbec wines are grown in Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, the elevation can be between 800 metres and 1,500 metres (2,800 to 5,000 feet). Grapes that grow at high altitudes tend to thrive in cooler climates, which means a longer growing season and the vines must struggle for water thereby making the grapes more complex in flavour. These wines are typically aged in oak barrels longer than other Malbecs, making them fuller-bodied and even having the ability to age.
What are you doing this April 17th? Why not join us in celebrating Malbec – the Superstar Grape and taste through 25 different Malbecs at 2nd Floor Events. You can purchase tickets here! HAPPY MALBEC WORLD DAY!