Malbec - An Argentinian Success Story
I noted with interest that every single table in the small seaside restaurant I was eating in last night had ordered a bottle of Malbec. Over the last decade it’s become one of the top five reds, a household favourite, joining the likes of Merlot and Shiraz…but where did it come from?
A wine at home on the slopes of Argentina, this grape has evolved since its beginnings in the South of France. Long has it been said that whilst Malbec certainly offered a mouth-watering plummy, black-cherry fullness making it an easy drinker, it lacked a certain something. Higher priced bottles tended to be heavy on the oak and sometimes over ripe, but that’s all changed over the years. Argentinian producers have developed a soft, elegant and very consistent range of Malbec which has seen its popularity surge. A clearer understanding of the climate, soil and altitude has enabled subtle variations to be exploited and delivered in an ever more refined way.
The Uco Valley is a particular stronghold for Malbec, with the likes of Zuccardi, Vina Cobos and Susana Balbo, producing elegant, cooler climate Malbec. We’re also seeing excellent Malbec coming from Argentina’s northern province of Salta, where Bodega Colomé is producing stunning examples from the world’s highest altitude vineyard, Altura Maxima at 3111 metres. Malbec is equally at home in the lower lying regions in Patagonia, where colder weather ensures a fresh, vibrant style.
As well as consistency and quality, Argentina is now also showing the world its diversity, with its varied terrain and climate allowing Malbec to show many expressions. It’s fascinating to see wine trends come and go, but Malbec’s rise to success shows no sign of slowing down.