World Malbec Day!
Two Malbecs…A (Half) World Apart
“World Malbec Day” is fast-approaching. This celebration of all things Malbec is scheduled for April 17th each year (this year on Tuesday, April 17th). Malbec’s popularity has increased and has sustained now for the better part of three decades. Ironically, the world might not be able to observe World Malbec Day, if it had not escaped the great French “Phylloxera Plague” of the mid-nineteenth century (c. 1860’s), which attacked the rootstock of grapevines in Europe for its nutritious sap. This blight left the European wine industry reeling, until a vine “grafting” method was introduced to vineyards and wine producers that withstood Phylloxera disease. How did Malbec survive? Well, it really didn’t in Europe. French Malbec was decimated by the blight. But, then there is a second part of the story…
Malbec made a major comeback, a half-world away…in Argentina! Shortly before the Phylloxera Plague in Europe took hold, Malbec was introduced into Argentina (c. 1850). New grape varietals were purposely introduced into their vineyards to transform their wine industry. Malbec flourished without the effects of phylloxera disease, and the rest is history!
Malbec is now arguably known as THE king of the Argentinean wine industry, but it can only be such because it stands on the shoulders of its French heritage. And now, Malbec is beginning to flourish again in the French region of Cahors (south central France), and also as a useful part of the blend in an ever-increasing amount of French Bordeaux wines.
Otto’s Wine & Spirits offers some of the best available Malbecs from both Argentina and France. Below are two sets of Malbecs that are my suggestions for you to sample (perhaps side-by-side for World Malbec Day?)—Two Malbecs from two separate wine producers from a half-world apart!
Mendoza Vineyards “1907” Malbec (v.2014): $9.99/Sale (reg. $10.99/btl)…
94 Points—Decanter “World Wine Awards”
- “Partly fermented in new French oak barrels to add…complexity to the rich and vibrant jammy fruit characters…”
Mendoza Vineyards 2013 Gran Reserva: $17.99/Sale (reg. $19.99/btl)…
95 Points—Decanter “World Wine Awards”
- “The grapes come from a 90-year-old single vineyard, with its original rootstock…the grapes are hand-sorted at the winery…full-bodied with complex flavors of plums, cherries and sweet spices with a long finish. This Malbec is excellent with grilled steak, barbecued ribs, and hearty pasta…” A serious “big brother” to 1907!
Georges Vigouroux 2016 “Gouleyant” (Cahors) Malbec: $9.99/btl
- “Gouleyant means ‘easy to drink’ in French… perfect with red meats, cheeses and all types of appetizers!”
This is a fun must-try Malbec to compare with standard Argentinean Malbecs at this price.
Georges Vigouroux 2014 “Chateau de Mercues” Malbec: $22.99/btl…
89 Points—Wine Spectator
- “Made with 85% Malbec & 15% Merlot…long contact skin fermentation and aged one year in new (French) oak barrels…Rich, intense, and subtle, with a great combination of fruits and spices…elegant length.”
Andy, Wine Manager
Otto’s Wine & Spirits—Brown Deer
P.S.—Watch for our Otto’s Exclusive Club wine offer the week of World Malbec Day (Tuesday, April 17, 2018). Not an Otto’s Exclusive Club member yet? Visit ottoswineandspirits.com to register!