On April 17th it's World Malbec Day. Wine expert Andrew Barrow explores it's origins and offers a few wine suggestions as well.
Hold on to your hats, ready the party poppers and string the bunting up along the pelmets. For April 17th 2015 is World Malbec Day.
The first such ‘day’ took place in 2011. This year the fifth edition sees more than 70 special events taking place in 64 cities across 50 countries celebrating the star of the Argentine wine scene.
It's true home
Although Malbec originated in France, it appears to have found its true home in the hills and valleys of Argentina. Although World Malbec Day is a marketing event organised by a national promotional body (Wines of Argentina), it is a damn fine excuse to explore one of the most exciting and up-coming of grape varieties. This is especially true if you can hunt down some examples from Australia (which is also producing some superb examples) and California or compare these more fruity New World renditions with the more robust and tannic versions from Cahors in France.
To describe Malbec as a ‘fruity’ wine would be to do it a disservice. Examples from Argentina have great depth—both in colour and flavour—and offer flavours of damsons, plum and blackberries with hints of dried fruits and, some assert, tobacco. Those from Argentina have a superb lush texture and work beautifully with beef (roasted or stewed), lamb in all its forms plus sausage drenched pizza, beef chili, and burgers. Barbecued meat is a star and don’t ignore empanadas or beef fajitas.
Three recommendations for you
The Bodega Colomé Malbec 2012 from the Calchaqui Valley in Argentina is very intense in a restrained, elegant manner. Simply divine with roasted lamb somethered in a wild garlic leaf and butter.
Unlike the Colomé the Trapiche Pure Malbec from Mendoza has not seen any oak. This leaves a juicy, red berry led wine that you could serve a little chilled. While it doesn’t offer the depth and complexity of the Colomé it does come in at several pounds less and offers great value.
For those with a passion for Fairtrade wines, you should try out the Sainsbury's Morador Taste the Difference Fairtrade Malbec also from Mendoza. The 2013 is full, quite tannic and veering to the blackcurrant and damson in flavour. I saw one comment that recommended this with a curry and all the trimmings “delicious with onion Bahjias and popadoms”.
World Malbec Day is a great excuse to discover Malbec – do let us know your own recommendations and discoveries and those all important food matches.