Five Points Malbec
World Malbec Day
World Malbec Day is as good a reason as any to immerse yourself in the story and style of this Argentine phenomenon and we’re doing just that in five crisp points
April 17 has emerged as a significant fixture on the international wine calendar, thank to the astonishing popularity of a certain red grape that grape makes a hearty, full bodied wine and has a remarkable story to tell. So raise your glasses with Wine Park to celebrate World Malbec Day! Marking its 11th successive year, the landmark day that recognizes Argentina’s flagship grape will see celebrations across more than 60 cities with several bottle of the full bodied red.
In fact, April 17 was not a random choice of date. It was in April 17, 1853, that French soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget was tasked to bring new vines to build Argentina’s wine industry. It was also the day that Argentina’s first agricultural school in Argentina was established with the express purpose of locally growing French grapes on Mendoza’s vast alluvial soil parcels. The next 168 years has been a journey of great struggle and success for Malbec which has today emerged as South America’s greatest wine success. So as oenophiles the world over fill and charge their glasses to Malbec this weekend, how about we explore the story and style of this splendid fruit through five crisp points.
Born to Travel
Most people still don’t know that Argentina’s rockstar wine is in fact French. Malbec is native to France’s South Western region of Cahors and was an inconspicuous part of Bordeaux blends for decades. But Malbec never quite found its mojo in Cahors or Bordeaux due to lack of elevation and sunlight, producing a wine of narrow palate. The grape’s story of success began in the mid 19th century when it travelled across the Atlantic to Argentina where the grape found its true vinous home.
M For Mendoza
If there was ever proof needed that one’s place of birth needn’t also be the site of one’s success, Malbec it is. The grape has found its best expression and world renown in Argentina and specifically in Mendoza. Malbec adapted beautifully to Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards rooted in loam and gravel soil. An abundance of sunlight and good growing sites allowed the Malbec to evolve a style of ripe upfront fruit and supple tannins.
New World Star
Malbec grew like a dream in Mendoza and turned out a rich, ripe fruit style expression that today the modern face of Argentine Wine. The extent of Malbec’s success in Argentina is staggering. From a modest 10000 acres in the mid-90’s, Argentina has over 112,000 acres of Malbec under vine! The grape witnessed meteoric world demand and consequently a growth in production of over 99.8 per cent between 2008 and 2019. Argentina presently makes 129 million litres of Malbec.
Brave New Style
So just why is Argentine Malbec so sought after. The thick skinned underwent an existential transformation when made the continental trip from Europe to Latin America. Leaving the cold and damp French South West for Argentina’s mountainous north dominated by the Andes’ range, Malbec thrived in the region’s high altitudes combined with copious sunshine to achieve stunning phenolic ripeness and make a wine of intense fruit and elegant texture balanced by bright acidity. The vintage Argentine Malbec palate abounds with floral notes and flavours of berries, plums, vanilla and chocolate, balanced by soft tannins
Vintage Malbecs to savour today!
Wine Park is honouring World Malbec Day by pulling out and uncorking its finest Malbec vintages this weekend. So savour the sublime wines of the Mendoza family estate of Susana Balbo, handcrafted by Argentina’s first woman winemaker.
Susana Balbo, Crios Malbec 2018
Rated 91 points by Robert Parker, this full bodied red expresses delectable flavours of cherries, blackberries and spices, impressing with great texture and velvet like tannins on a long finish.
Susana Balbo, Ben Marco Malbec 2017
A stellar vintage produced in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, this barrel aged Malbec impresses with intense notes of blackberry and blackcurrant balanced by delicate floral aromas and opulent layer of flavours, held together by fine tannins.
Both these stunningly good Malbec wines are available now at thewinepark.com. Have a wonderful World Malbec Day. Cheers!