One of my favorite red wines from Argentina is a Malbec. While Malbec wine is popping up more and more, not many know the background of this delightfully full-bodied wine.
Malbec is a grape used in making red wine that tends to have a dark and rich color. Another characteristic of Malbec is that it has robust tannins. While historically it is one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of French Bordeaux red wine, the French Malbec plantations are now only visible in Cahors, the Southwest wine region of France. It was introduced in Argentina in 1868 and little by little, this grape has become prominent in Argentina and has finally reached the celebrated level as an Argentinian varietal wine. Due to its growing popularity, growers from Chile, Australia, California and Washington have been moving quickly to grow Malbec. These growers have improved the wine producing processes. The quality of Malbecs from Chile and Australia are getting close to their competitors from Argentina.
Here’s a little background info. Malbec is named after a Hungarian peasant who introduced it to France. The Malbec grape is thin-skinned and requires more sun and heat than Cabernet or Merlot to mature. Malbec ripens mid-season and can display a very deep red color with lots of tannin and a fruity plum-like flavor. The red wines made from Malbec grapes are rich, dark and extra juicy. As a varietal it is a deep red color with intense flavors and bouquet.
So what’s my favorite? It’s a boutique wine produced by Argenvine. The Malbec from the Reserva Especial of 2002 is one of the most intense wine drinking experiences that I have had from an Argentine varietal. The grapes are from the Mendoza region and the wine is aged 12 months in French oak barrels. The deep purplish red color is delightful. The bouquet is of dried fruits, plums, toast and chocolate. On the palate, it is silky and pleasant with delicate fruity overtones of truffles and dried plums, which give it an excellent long lingering finish. It’s a great bottle to enjoy with a steak dinner.