Malbec World Day is celebrated each year on 17 April. The name is taken as a translation from the Spanish "Día Mundial del Malbec" which means "Malbec throughout the world". The day commemorates 17 April 1853, the day on which the Argentine government instructed Michel Aimé Pouget, a French soil expert, to bring over new vines from France.
Here are 10 Malbec facts to help you learn more about this varietal!
Ten Malbec Facts
1. Malbec originated in Cahors, France. The grape was very common in the Middle Ages in France. As a result, it was known by over a thousand names such as Auxerrois, Côt, Pressac, Noir de Pressac and Peid-Roughe.
2. A Phylloxera outbreak from 1875 to 1889 wiped out much of the French stock. Most Malbec stock was replaced by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot after a severe frost in 1956.
3. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, the governor of Mendoza and later President of Argentina, arranged the import of cuttings from France through Michel Aimé Pouget.
4. Malbec thrived in Argentina and became the signature red grape. Most vines are located in the foothills of the Andes mountains in Mendoza.
5. The grape began its cultivation in South Africa in the 1920s however it wasn't until the 1990s that it was bottled as a single varietal wine.
6. The area of Malbec under production globally stands at approximately: Argentina - 76,000 ha, France - 15,000 ha, USA - 3,400 ha, Chile - 2500 ha, South Africa - 1,100 ha, Australia - 1,100 ha and New Zealand - 200 ha.
7. The vine grows vigorously. The grapes ripen from the end of February with black, juicy berries that have tough skins.
8. The variety is susceptible to a number of diseases, particularly in the French climate where it can suffer from coulure and downy mildew.
9. Malbec is one of the five official wines used in Bordeaux-style blends. The other varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
10. Malbec produced in France have flavours of currant, plum and a green bitterness. They have higher acidity that contributes a pepper and spice aspect to the wine. On the other hand, Argentine Malbecs are fruit forward with blackberry, plum, and black cherry and depending on the length of oak ageing the wine undergoes, they also tend towards tobacco on the finish.
For our selection of Malbecs, click here.