Hidden Facts About Argentine Malbec
On April the 17th we celebrate Malbec World’s day, in honor of the iconic strain for Argentina, but how much do we know about it?
Where its name came from
Some people say it came from the Hungarian last name of the guy who first identified the strain and was able to plant –separately from others- big plots of it: Mr. Monsieur Malbeck. Besides, he was the one who took it to France, beginning in Cahors and then Bordeaux. After some time, the name changed to “Malbec” in reference to the French words for “bad mouth”, since wines elaborated with this grapes in French lands, were rough and bitter.
The bunch has a medium size, conic, loose to full; medium sized grains, with black-bluish skin and soft pulp. The leaves are dark green, mid-size, orbicular and cuneiform, whole and three pointed.
5 curious facts
1- In other parts of the world it is known as Côt (among other names, since it has around 1.000 synonyms throughout the world!).
2- It was about to disappear in the XIXth century, due to the phylloxera outbreak in Europe.
3- The first controlled appellation of origin is located in Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina).
4- The TOP 4 countries with more Malbec planted are: Argentina (28.500ha.), France (6.100ha.), United States (2.830ha.) and Chile (1.230ha.).
5- The highest plantation is located in Salta, Argentina, in a place called Valles Calchaquíes, 3.111 meters above sea level.
Why is April the 17th Malbec’s World Day?
Malbec was first introduced in Argentina in 1853 by the French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget, who had been hired to direct “Quinta Agronómica Mendoza”, a government’s department specialized in wine industry issues.
This project also aimed to educate new agronomists and viticulturists and it was presented to the legislative power of the Province on April the 17th of 1853.
Even when each winery has its own way to elaborate Malbec, and despite the terroir’s influence on each plant, this strain keeps some characteristics and style that helps us identify it.
Colour is intensely red, almost black, with violet glints. About the aroma, red fruits such as plum, cherry, blackberry, and fig prevail. Tannins are soft, it feels balanced in the mouth, intense and with good body.
Malbec in Argentina
This strain is along all of Argentina, offering different variations according to the height or type of soil where it is located.
There are plantations in Salta (Cafayate), La Rioja (Valle de Famatina), San Juan, Córdoba, Mendoza (Luján de Cuyo, Valle de Uco, Valle Central, San Rafael), Neuquén y Rio Negro.
The predominant aromas to be found here are red fruits such as plum, cherry, fig and blackberry (fresh but also mature, almost jelly-like) and even sometimes the scent of violets can be smelled. In mouth, they’re rounded, with soft tannins and well balanced.
Celebration: Malbec World Day
This celebration was created by Wines of Argentina, an enterprise dedicated to the broadcasting and positioning of Argentinian wines all over the world. The first time it was celebrated was in 2011, where more than 72 events took place in 45 cities from 36 countries.
Each year they choose a different theme, which encourages the creation of amusing stagings. This year’s theme is #Malbec Argentino: Elegance doesn’t need perfection.