Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WORLD MALBEC DAY 2012 by Philip S. Kampe

Why was April 17th chosen for WORLD MALBEC DAY?

MALBEC originated in southwest France's Bordeaux region where this variety was cultivated and whose resulting wines bore the name of the region: CAHORS. The AOC in Cahors stipulates that Malbec must make up 70% of the blend with Merlot and Tannat comprising the rest.

Historically, Cahors was well appreciated during the times of the Roman Empire through the Middle Ages. The wedding between the King of England and the Dutchess of Aquitaine was crucial to the success and appearance of Cahors wines in England. The British brought Southwest France under English rule, thus creating a vehicle for wine exodus to England.

Since then, the British market turned its attention to the French wine from that region. Appreciation of Malbec (Cahors) developed in England and around the world.

When the phylloxera plague destroyed French viticulture towards the end of the 19th century Malbec fell into oblivion. However, a culture of appreciation for Malbec existed. It was a result of phylloxera that Argentine Malbec fully developed.

Michel Aime Pouget, an agronomist, brought plants and seeds from France to Argentina. He was hired by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento to run Quinta Agronomica de Mendoza. In 1853 Pouget took charge of the Quinta and planted seeds and cuttings of Malbec, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Toward the end of the 19th century, viticulture experienced exponential development, as did Malbec. The grape adopted very quickly to Argentina's terroir and did better in Argentina than in it did in its original home, France.

After the model of France, Quinta Agronomica de Mendoza, sought to incorporate new varietals as a way to boost the national wine industry. The initiative was well received and on APRIL 17,1853 (now WORLD MALBEC DAY), the bill was submitted and became law on September 6, 1853.

Over the course of time and a lot of hard work, Malbec began to shape up as Argentina's flagship variety.

The efforts made by Pouget, Sarmiento and the Quinta played a key role in the process. In the view of Wines of Argentina, 17 APRIL, is a day that represents both the transformation of Argentina's wine industry and the starting point for the development of Malbec as its flagship variety and international emblem of the country's viticulture and winemaking.


Fortunately, Wines of Argentina has declared this as Malbec Week. Numerous Worldwide events are taking place this week and especially this weekend.

It is not too late to celebrate.

I suggest opening a bottle of 90 point(RP) 2010 GRAFFIGNA ESTATE RESERVE MALBEC, considered by many as one of Argentina's finest.

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