If I don’t watch out, I may start appearing to be a knowledgeable Wine Blogger, instead of the guy that has been having fun for the last couple of years in the cyber world, and in life for almost all of it. According to the American Winery Guide and their Wine Lover’s Calendar of 2015, April 17 is World Malbec Day.
Malbec is a varietal that has become one of the big boys; it has its adherents just like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Of course it has not always been that way. It was a native grape in the South-Western part of France known as Cahors, and was the mainstay of their table wines of the region, and it was a happy little sleepy varietal. From this region the wine ended up being called besides Malbec, Auxerrois, Cot, Cahors and sometimes Malbeck. Then the winemakers of Bordeaux discovered it, and started growing some for its deep musky taste and dark color, but it was one of several that are known as the classic Bordeaux or Claret blend. This blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, but it hit a very cold winter and a lot of vineyards had to dig up this grape and replant. Back in the dark days for wine lovers, pre-Internet days, the varietals were not posted, so one can only take a stab in the dark whether a particular Chateau used Malbec in its wine. Over in the New World, some wine makers were trying to make their own Claret and christened the wine Meritage. Of course some of the pioneers that were doing this have resisted calling their wine a Meritage and use their own proprietary name, and some have been extremely good at their craft. In California and other states, where wineries are using the label Meritage they may use the following varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Saint-Macaire, Gross Verdot and Carmenere. There are even some wine makers making Malbec wines, especially now to get on the bandwagon.
So far, I have mentioned France and North America, but down in South America, especially in Argentina, is where Malbec has come into its own. I should also mention that Malbec is also planted down in Australia as well, and I am sure that it is being planted and used elsewhere as well. One could say that Argentina put Malbec on the map, or maybe that Malbec put Argentina on the map; which ever way you want to look at it, Malbec is the power house of Argentina. With all that wonderful Argentine beef, they needed a heavy red that could pair majestically with the cuisine and Malbec was a perfect choice. In North America the wine tends to be a bit more fruit forward, but in Argentina the wine is forceful and what a heavy red should be, but they do a great job with it and we are the fortunate recipients of their craft.