Today marks Malbec World Day - how to celebrate you ask. . .
Shall we start the day with a glass or Malbec with a bowl of breakfast cereal or a hearty plate of eggs & bacon? And another glass (or maybe upgrade to a bottle) served with lunch, then finish off by uncorking a bottle of Malbec to accompany a BBQ steak dinner? This idea of around the clock Malbec drinking, made many giggle & come up with wild & crazy ideas to celebrate. To kick the festivities off & to learn first hand more about Malbec in Argentine, I attended in a tutored tasting last week with Ottawa Citizen’s wine writer& author Rod Phillips.
My place setting awaited 18 glasses of various wines from Argentina – Torrontes & Chardonnay (white wines) along with 5 Malbecs with prices ranging from $12 to $27 a bottle. Then we had a taste of Shiraz/Syrah, Bonarda, Pinot Noir & red wine blends to give the tasting a POW at the end. The 2 hours flew by & my mind was buzzing with Malbec facts that I looked forward to share.
I know no other grape that has a dedicated day that shines the spotlight on it. Malbec began its history as a grape variety grown in Cahors, France, then was uprooted because of the phloxerra insect that decimated many vineyards in Europe in the late 1800s. Luckily, the Malbec rootstock that the European immigrants brought with them on their journey to Argentina, were not infected by the bug that attacked the roots of grape vines.
Today, Malbec is Argentina’s iconic grape variety, although, it is now grown in many vineyards throughout the world – even as close to home as Niagara-on-the-Lake! There are over 564, 000 acres of vineyards dedicated to Malbec stretching along the Andes Mountain Range from 22 to 42 degrees latitude. This region has great ripening conditions with its continuous stream of sunshine during the day (ideal for ripening) , then cooler nights (perfect to produce acidity in the grape clusters). This combination of ripe red & black fruit in the aromas & taste coupled with soft tannins with underlying acidity, makes for a crowd pleasing wine.
The wines we sampled during this tutored tasting certainly pleased me! Here are my tasting notes about the various Malbec we discovered:
Manos Negras Malbec 2008, $14.95
(LCBO part number #271295)
A basic Malbec with juicy aromas on the nose (cherry, raspberry jam). There is good structure in this Malbec with a taste of cinnamon hearts candy.
Catena Malbec 2009, $19.95
(LCBO part number 478727)
Big juicy with loads of aromas of damsom plum boysenberry + pomegranate that continue into the taste.
Dominio del Plata Ben Marco Malbec 2009
(only available on request from winery representative, $27.00)
My hands down favorite. A BIG wine. Dry with loads of tannins, aromas that remind me of a big bouquet of red roses. Layered onto the wine is licorice + plums that continue into their taste. Too bad this wine is not readily available at the LCBO.
Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009
(LCBO part number #723478, $19.95)
From the infamous Fuzion fame, Zuccardi family has made a slightly lighter styled Malbec compared to the others I savoured. On your first sip, there is evidence that the wine has light tannins, black pepper aromas with a refreshing acidity that ends with black pepper finish.
Rutini Malbec 2009
See for yourself if you like this style of Malbec wines. Lighter again in weight compared to the other Malbecs that we sampled in this tasting. The glass wafts of cherry & red berry aromas with light tannins & shorter finish.
After all of these Malbec wines, plus the other wines that were included in the 18 wines we sampled, no doubt our lips & teeth were 'naturally coloured' a shade of deep purple. Want more info Malbec tips? Contact me + I will offer you more Argentine recommendations from this delicious wine tasting.
However you celebrate it, Happy Malbec World Day.
Salud! - Debbie
Tags: Accreditted Sommelier Debbie Trenholm, Catena Malbec 2009, Chardonnay, Dominio del Plata Ben Marco Malbec 2009, good value wines, LCBO, Malbec, Malbec World Day, Manos Negras Malbec 2008, Pinot Noir, red wine, Rutini Malbec, Savvy Company, Shiraz, Syrah, The Savvy Grapes, Torrontes, Vintages, white wine, wine and steak pairing, wine tips from a Sommelier, Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009