Allow myself to get a bit away for the “kitchen confidential” feel of this blog and concentrate purely (late, I know…) in joining the worldwide celebration of Malbec Day last 17th April.
I know is well overdue and I promised myself not to go down the road of excuses but -trust me- this delay is for a good reason…
Let me start by saying that Malbec is without doubt the most iconic and representative grape of Argentina; although originary from France, back home is where Malbec is really surging and has become a sort of “national variety”.
History tells us that on 17th April 1853, former Argentine President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento instructed French agronomist & soil expert Miguel Pouget to bring grapevines cuttings from France to develop in Argentina.
Among all the vines that Pouget brought, there were the very first Malbec to be planted in Mendoza. Contrary to the popular belief this grape didn’t always enjoy a prime position in the Argentine wine industry; as a matter of fact some Malbec plantings were pulled out to make way for more popular varieties.
Thank God all has changed at the end of last century when a few wine producers wisely decided to focus on premium wine production for export.
Its potential and unique qualities made this grape the most widely planted red grape variety in the country and certainly the most prestigious nowadays.
Do you know as well that Argentine most highly rated Malbec wines are from Mendoza’s high latitude Districts of Lujan de Cuyo & Uco Valley? Argentine winemaker Nicolas Catena Zapata deserves a mention here. He has been widely credited for the success of Argentine Malbec & the Mendoza region with his different experimentations in high altitude.
In 1994 Catena was the first winemaker to dare to plant Malbec at almost 1,500 m elevation in the District of Tupungato. The results were outstanding and definitely the milestone for a new era in the “Argentine Wine Industry”
Together with Casa Malevo’s Restaurant Manager Roberto Tavoloni you can find below a selection of our favorites Malbec’s… Salud!
Susana Balbo 2009 (Agrelo. Mendoza)
AVB 14.5% / Malbec (95%) Cab Sauv (5%)
Extremely pleasant with food or on its own; this neat, velvety and smooth wine shows why Susana Balbo is the most prestigious enologist in Argentina.
Laborum 2007 (Cafayate. Salta)
AVB 14.2% / Malbec
Malbec these days means Mendoza, well not always. From vineyards located at 1750mts above sea level in the very north of Argentina, a true powerful, masculine wine that shows how versatile our star grape has become!
Achaval Ferrer “Quimera” 2008 (Medrano, L. de Cuyo and Tupungato. Mendoza)
AVB 14% / Malbec-Cab Sauv-Merlot-Cab Franc –Petit Verdot
Malbec thrives as the main grape in this extraordinary blend made with grapes from very low yield plants that bring us a complex, beautifully balance and unique wine.
Terrazas “Afincado” 2007 (Vistalba. Mendoza)
AVB 14% / Malbec
From very old vines and only produced in exceptional years, this is a dense and rich Malbec that is not shy and will show its presence with a long and persistent finish.