The Mendoza Malbec

The Mendoza Malbec

When helping customers or chatting with others in the beverage industry, we’ll often ask each other one very simple yet heart-breaking question.  “What is your favorite wine?”  The equivalent of asking a parent which child they love most.  I’ve been asked this question on many occasions and as I learn more about wine and sample from different winemakers, my appreciation has grown for every grape.  But there is one region, one wine, one superhero grape that steals my heart and my taste buds every time.  The Mendoza Malbec.

The Malbec grape is rooted in south-west France in the Cahors region.  Cahors lies east of Bordeaux and is situated on either side of the River Lot.  Wines from this region are often aged in oak, high in tannins with deep color, and provide notes of dark fruit flavors.  In 1868, Malbec was brought to Argentina by French agronomist, Miguel Pouget.  Today, Forbes magazine calls Malbec “The French Grape that Conquered Argentina”.  The grape quickly adapted to the Argentinian climate and is known as their flagship variety.

Most of the vineyards in Argentina lie close to the Andes mountains and are planted at higher altitudes due to the hot, dry climate.  Grapes often need to be shaded from intense sunlight and protected from frequent hailstorms.  Many winemakers utilize netting to protect the vines and some own multiple vineyards in different areas, blending grapes together that have survived the weather.  The Mendoza province, with its desert-like conditions that are protected by rain from the Andes mountains, is responsible for the majority of wine produced in Argentina.  The Luján de Cuyo department of Mendoza has some of the oldest Malbec vines that produce concentrated and complex wines.

Malbec wine produced in Argentina tends to be full-bodied, deeply colored, with high levels of smooth tannins.  Maturing in new oak adds spicy flavors to the foundation of black fruit flavors commonly found in a glass of Malbec.  Vineyards can be planted at a variety of altitudes providing a different Malbec experience from each vineyard.  Vineyards planted at lower altitudes tend to produce fuller-bodied wines with richer fruit flavors.  Vineyards planted at higher altitudes produce wines that are fresher with more elegant floral aromas due to the cooler temperatures.  Malbec is mostly produced as a single varietal wine but can be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

Ready to take your taste buds to Mendoza?  Try the Tilia Malbec at Tasteful Times or Cork and Cracker with its bright red color and intense violet hues.  On the nose, aromas of violet, rich plum marmalade laced with chocolate, vanilla, and oak flavors.  The soft entry leads to a well-structured and long finish with round, silky tannins. The Mendoza Malbec is a must try for any red wine lover.  It’s everything you want in a wine partner.  It’s elegant with a little spice, smooth with the seduction of black fruits, and unapologetic about its French past and South American present. 



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