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Malbec World Day. MWD

Malbec World Day is a global initiative created by Wines of Argentina  . It seeks to position Argentine Malbec as one of the most prominent in the world and celebrate the success of the national wine industry. This celebration is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Argentine Agency for Investment and International Trade and the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR). It was celebrated for the first time on April 17, 2011. Since then it managed to position itself as an historic and cultural event in the global promotion of wine. Also today it is part of an international calendar of celebrations.

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Why is Malbec World Day celebrated on April 17th?

The origins of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France. But it was not known as Malbec then. Since the days of the Roman Empire French people have been cultivating this grape and making wines with the appellation of “Cahors”. These wines became very popular during the Middle Ages. However, by the mid nineteenth century, the phylloxera plague destroyed the French vineyards and the “Côt” was soon forgotten. Nevertheless, the appreciation for Malbec grew during this time.

Malbec Argentino appeared sometime later. Michel Aimé Pouget (1821-1875), a French agronomist brought the first strain of Malbec to Mendoza , the wine state in the country. The Argentine journalist, politician and statesman, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento commissioned him to carry out the management of the Quinta de Mendoza, the first agricultural school in the country. Argentina did not have a large wine industry at the time. Therefore, the goal was clear: to build a thriving wine industry like the one in France.  On April 17th, 1853, the project was officially presented and soon later,  was approved.

The European variety was planted extensively and adapted to the terroirs of the region. It developed much better than in its region of origin. Thus, over time and with a lot of hard work, it eventually became the country´s flagship grape.

 

Malbec grapes
Malbec grapes

Malbec in Argentina.

When consumers think of Malbec, only one country comes to mind: Argentina. Nowadays it is the main producer of Malbec in the world. With its 109,686 acres, Malbec represents 38.6% of the total red varieties and 22.4% of the total cultivated area in the country.

Argentina has a controlled designation of origin (DOC) for Malbec in some regions. It is called “Luján de Cuyo” and was the first Denomination of Origin (DOC) of America. The terms of the DOC require that at least 85% of the wine be Malbec while the remaining 15% can be other varieties recognized by the DOC.  All must be produced and bottled at their place of origin. They must have a minimum alcohol content of 13.5%. Their age must be of at least of 18 months between harvest and entry onto the market. And they must have spent a minimum of 6 months in barrels.

The first thing you notice about Argentine Malbec is its color – a thick, lustrous, inky-black purple that almost stains the glass. Good ones are often surprisingly floral and aromatic with scents of violets and plums. This turns into sweet, well-rounded flavors on the tongue and sometimes a spicy edge softened by smooth, velvety tannins. The balance of fruit and tannin is what makes a top Malbec so perfect with a juicy, tender steak.

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Malbec wines in vineyard
Malbec is the iconic grape in Argentine