International Malbec day: 17th April 2022

This year, the international Malbec day took place at the same time as Easter on Sunday 17th April.

What should we know about Mabec?

Malbec is a grape variety part of the cotoid family which is a group of grape varieties, of the Vitis vinifera species. Amongst this family we also find Negrette, Valdiguié and Tanat.

The first mentions of Malbec, then called Auxerrois (named after the town of Auxerre), date back to the 16th century.

Malbec originates from the South-West of France (this is where I live !!), more precisely from the region of Cahors. The limestone and rocky soils and high altitudes are perfect for growing Malbec.

Malbec was once grown in 30 different French departments. This is why we find more than 1000 synonyms of the name Malbec.

The name Malbec would originate from Monsieur Malbeck who introduced the grape to Bordeaux.

Malbec is also known by the following names: cot (in Loire), pressac ou noir de Pressac (in Saint-Emilion), mauzat, grifforin, vesparol, prolongeau, plant du Lot, plant de Cahors, plant du Roy, malbeck (in Argentina), etc

Malbec is one of the 6 grape varieties authorized in Bordeaux wines.

Malbec is a necessary component of the A.O.C Cahors. It must represent at least 70% of A.O.C Cahors wines, Merlot and Tannat making up the rest of the blend.

Malbec is often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat to produce dark, full-bodied wines. In France’s Loire Valley, Malbec is blended with Cabernet Franc or Gamay.

Malbec is not for red wines only ! Some brands produce sparkling white and rosé wines from Malbec, just as people from Champagne use Pinot Noir to produce Champagne.

What about Malbec & Food pairing? Steak is the traditional pairing with Argentinian Malbec. Lamb is often suggested to pair with French Malbecs. Blue cheese is a surprising pairing suggestion for this wine!

What about Malbec grapes? The grapes are small and have a dark purple color with thick skins.

More alcohol: Wines produced from Malbec grapes are higher in alcohol than Merlot an Pinot Noir. The darkness of the grapes and their wines led to them being called “black wines” in the Middle Ages.

It is difficult to cultivate Malbec grapes elsewhere in France. Malbec vines are extremely susceptible and the grapes are prone to rot, develop mildew and have virtually no frost resistance.

What about Malbec wines in France ?

French Malbec wines have rich fruity flavors and medium tannin levels. Malbecs from Cahors are the darkest. Younger Malbecs taste like blackberriers. Notes of tobacco, coffee and meat are present in the older Malbecs from Cahors.

Plantations in Argentina are larger than in France

Malbec was introduced to Argentina by Frenchman Michel Pouget in 1868. Today, Argentina has more than 25 000 hectares of Malbec. This is much more than the plantations of Malbec in France, which were only 5 000 hectares in 1994.

What about Argentinian Malbecs ?

Argentinian Malbec wines, on the other hand, are less tannic and have a smooth, velvety texture. These wines present black mountain fruits and soft floral notes.

What about Malbec aroun the world?

In addition to France, its country of origin, and Argentina, its adopted country, Malbec is also grown in the United States, where it is found in California, New York, Oregon, Idaho, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey and Colorado. It is also grown in Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru.

Each year on April 17 World Malbec Day is celebrated !! It celebrates the day when Argentina President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento asked Michel Aimé Pourget, a French soil expert, to bring new wines to Argentina. Among these wines, the Malbec.

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