Argentina is the land of Tango, Parillas, Empanadas and Malbecs. Malbec helped put Argentina on the world wine map. Today Malbec is the signature grape of the country. In 2011 Wines of Argentina created Malbec World Day to be celebrated on April 17th of each year.
Malbec may originally be from the southwest region of France in Cahors, but it has found its second home in Argentina. Malbec was brought to South America in 1853 by Michel Aimé Pouget, an agronomist who ran Quinta Agronómica de Mendoza. The varietal has been thriving in Argentina ever since, thanks to it climate and high elevation. Today Malbecs from Argentina are renowned for its diversity, high quality and elegance.
Argentina has led the revival of Malbec around the globe, accounting for approximately 75% of the acres planted worldwide. The high elevation of the Andes Mountain give Malbec structure and elegance. Argentine Malbecs have notes of blackberry, plum, dark cherries, chocolate and violet flowers. The wines have nice acidity and firm tannins.
Malbec’s popularity is on the rise, thanks to the many incredible winemakers in the region. This year I will be celebrating Malbec World Day with notable women winemakers from Argentina. I am delighted to share with you their wines and celebrate Malbec World Day.
Domaine Bousquet produces world-class quality wines applying both French and Argentine know-how in the winemaking process. I recently had the opportunity to meet Anne Bousquet. Anne grew up in a winemaking family and had always had hands on experience in making wine from the young age of 10. She later went on to study abroad and become an Economist. In 2009 Anne and her husband Labid moved to Tupungato. In a short span of twenty years, with determination and vision Anne Bousquet is making prestigious wines, that have won many accolades and awards.
The winery is in Tupungato, Mendoza. This region has exceptional terroir and ideal weather conditions to produce high quality wines from organic grapes. The wines of Domaine Bousquet are organically grown in a cool climate at high altitudes, resulting in wines that are fresh, elegant, and concentrated with ripe fruit and acidity. The Domaine Bousquet Gran Malbec 2017 is 85% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah. The wine exhibits a deep violet color. There are intense blackberry and prune aromas with spice and vanilla notes. It is full bodied on the palate with good structure and a nice long finish.
Founded in 1902, Argentina’s Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza.
Dr. Laura Catena is the fourth generation Argentine vintner, physician and author. In 1995 Laura joined her father Nicolás Catena Zapata at the family winery and founded the Catena Institute of Wine with the vision of making Argentine wines that could stand with the best of the world. Dr. Laura Catena has been called “the face of Argentine wine” for her active role in studying and promoting the Mendoza wine region and Argentine Malbec. Laura’s life obsession is to learn more about high altitude viticulture, the vineyard soil microbiome and wine ageability.
Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec 2015 is made with old vines from the Catena Zapata Family Vineyards, Nicasia and Angélica. The origins of the vines, which they call “The Catena Cuttings”, is a pre phylloxera Massale Selection from the Angélica Vineyard. The artistically gorgeous label pays tribute to the variety’s history in France and its rise in
Argentina. The wine is intense, sexy and opulent. It is ripe, full-bodied and plush on the palate. A simply stunning wine.
Bodega Familia Schroeder is in the southern most part of Argentina, in Patagonia. When construction began to build the winery a dinosaur was unearthed and in tribute to this 75 million year giant, the name Saurus was given.
Saurus Barrel Fermented Malbec Patagonia 2017 is a deep red colour with some hint of violet. There are full ripened fruit aromas with strong plum and cassis gently backed with floral and spiced nuances. Delicate hints of vanilla and chocolate are present. This is a soft and elegant wine with a long lingering finish.
The Caiquén is a wild goose from Patagonia that flies across The Andes between Argentina and Chile. By embarking on this cross-border flight the Caiquén takes up a major challenge.
Just like the Caiquén, Aurelio Montes, founder of the Chilean winery Bodega Montes, made several trips across the Andes until, in 2000 he rediscovered Mendoza as a generous land filled with superb vines and hardworking people. In 2001 he realized Mendoza was the perfect place to make Kaikén Wines, wines that embody everything a great wine ought to be.
The grapes used to make our Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2017 come from vineyards located in the Uco Valley, where the great variations of heights and soils allow for different and varied characteristics in the grapes, which are then translated into distinctive and complex wines. This deep brilliant red-colored wine displays a nose that has spicy and floral notes—a clear expression of the Uco Valley. The finish is fresh, complex, and persistent with fruit notes and subtle spicy undertones of rosemary, thyme, and dry flowers.
In 1999 Susana’s embarked on her lifelong dream to have her own winery and make her own wines with formation of Susana Balbo Wines. Susana wanted to be a nuclear physicist but instead she received her degree in enology and became the first in woman in Argentina to hold this degree. Susana has a highly celebrated resume of achievements. In 2012, she was recognized as one of the “Most influential women wine-makers” by The Drink Business magazine. Recently in 2018, the magazine recognized her again by including her in the list of “The 10 most influential women in the wine world”.
The 2015 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec is deep violet in color with aromas of blackberries and black cherries. It is a wonderfully floral, pure expression of Uco Valley. On the palate it has enticing flavors of plum, berries, with a bright acidity and a lick of chalk. Its finish is elegant, velvety and long.
Malbec World Day
Today, April 17th is Malbec World Day and I highly encourage you to try the Malbecs of Argentina. Raise your glass with a Malbec and join the celebrations!