You have to love the classic story of the outsider who frees himself from the care of his parents and makes a name for himself in his own way.
Maybe that’s why Malbec is so popular. It is a grape that has come a long way from its roots and is still making a big noise. It is a French wine, usually spoken with an Argentine accent.
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We taste a wine that combines the best of both worlds – Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserva
Trial Challenge: Adopted from Argentina, Malbec
The history of Malbec begins in France, where it is still used for blending grapes in Bordeaux. Often referred to as Côtes, some great examples of Malbec still come from Cahors, but its low resistance to parasites and bad weather made it hardly one of the most popular French grape varieties.
So it was certainly not common outside his own country.
All this changed in the 1860s when a botanist from France planted grapes in Mendoza, Argentina.
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Today, more than 43,000 hectares of Malbec are cultivated in Argentina and 15,000 hectares in France. So when it comes to Malbec, there’s an argument that it’s not so much about where you’re from, but where you’ve been.
Argentine Malbec is known to be fruity, while French Malbec has a greener, spicier character with a higher acidity.
Looking for what makes everyone’s heart beat, we came across a bottle of Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina: the most popular region for this humble grape.
2017 Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserve
Take a look at this: Medium purple, plus that purple edge you see so often in Malbec.
The smells: Very complex and fragrant. Notes on blackberries, plums, pipe tobacco, blueberries, smoke and even some minerals that can be associated with the mountainous area where they were grown. Wine also contains umami: think of balsamic sauce or soy.
In the palace: The holy cow. These are aggressive tannins. In the beginning they are quite overwhelming, even after an hour of pressure. Then you get blackberries and lots of green vegetable tones. New finishing of leather, tobacco and dark chocolate.
Sorted food: It can be perfect with the earthy taste you get from lamb or even duck. A hamburger with onions and cheese would also work well.
What we learned about the Argentine Malbec
Wow! It’s not exactly what we expected! When you hear about the fruity lushness of the Argentine malbec and you’re overwhelmed by its bitterness, it’s a bit of a shock.
Don’t get me wrong, the notes we’ve been waiting for were there: Plum, ripe and a strong hint of pipe tobacco. But also a lot of competing notes that make us think about what we started out with.
If we take a closer look at the bottle, we understand why: the words ‘high-rise’ of the vineyards.
It appears that this Malbec grape has been grown at an average altitude of 1070 metres above sea level. This is a very cool climate and this adds a little variation.
The Malbec grapes had to work much harder to grow, and when they did, they brought a lot of acidity and less effervescence than you get in a warmer region.
So we stumbled upon Malbec, which combines the best of both worlds: the fresh, fruity notes of Argentina with the more sour, tougher notes of France.
It is a great wine to explore the birthplace of the grape. Where it was grown you can tell what you’re getting.
Like our experience with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, the geography of the grape can be very important for the wine lover. Just saying you’re drinking Malbec isn’t nearly enough.
But this particular bottle shows us that it might not be enough to know the country of origin and the region itself! It is a nice surprise and it shows that the Argentine adoptive parent still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Can’t you find the wine? You don’t have to taste the exact same wine. So, if you are looking for alternatives to perform your task, you can search for options on Wine Access.