Today is April 17. The IRS tax filing deadline has passed, and today is a good day to raise a glass to that! It is also the day the Argentina's seventh president, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, purportedly ordered, in 1853, a French soil expert to bring new vines to Argentina. Among them, malbec. And that is why today, April 17th, is World Malbec Day. The rest, as they say, is history.
The history of winemaking in Argentina goes further back than 1853, but the history of Malbec begins about that time. Malbec is a grape that originates in France, considered one of the five major red wine grapes of the Bordeaux region. Usually used as a minor blending grape in Bordeaux, it receives the spotlight in Argentina. Because Argentinian Malbec has found a worldwide stage for this grape, it is often thought, by many wine consumers, that it got it's start in the worlds fifth largest wine producing country.
Today, Malbec is grown abundantly in Argentina, as well as Australia, Chile, throughout California and has notable acreage planted in several other US AVA's, including Virginia, Oregon, Texas and New York. In France, it's vineyard acreage in Bordeaux is decreasing, except in the southwest portion, in Cahors, where it is still widely grown.
It generally produces a dry red wine, with soft tannins and notes of blackberry and chocolate. Malbec's flavor will vary depending on where it is grown, with some regions producing a softer, plush style of Malbec, and others with greater emphasis on the acidity and tannins. Try to find Malbecs from a variety of regions as you explore this grape and it's wine.
There are so many reasons to raise a glass today in honor of World Malbec Day, not the least of which is that you are here, today, and this wonderful red wine grape is alive in well in so many parts of our wine world! Salut!