EASTON, Md. — April, 15, 2011 — On Sunday April 17th wine lovers from around the world will celebrate Malbec World Day sponsored by the Wines of Argentina. Although it originated in France, the Malbec grape variety has become nearly synonymous with Argentine wines.
Malbec arrived in Argentina over 160 years ago when cuttings were brought from France to the school of agriculture in Mendoza. The rest as they say is history. While this grape was a minor part of the Bordeaux blend in France it has taken center stage in Argentina. The climate in the Mendoza region has proven to be just right for this grape where it is now the world’s largest producer of Malbecs known for their dark color, black fruit flavors as well as a spicy and sometimes earthy character.
Malbec World Day is being celebrated all over the world with a number of special events. Malbec World Day was the wine sponsor of the Cherry Blossom festival in DC and will also sponsor the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City from April 20th to May 11th. There will be a wine luncheon in Napa Valley on April 19th and the main event happens tomorrow in Mendoza at Tupungato Winelands where 200 people will toast Malbec World Day from hot air balloons.
Another aspect of the celebration is the winemaking challenge where enthusiasts from Canada, England and other countries will receive Malbec grapes to see if they can produce wine that rivals those made in Argentina.
Each will receive education and coaching from experience Argentine winemakers to assist in the process. In a year there will be a tasting to determine who produced the best. Alejandra De Miguel, Owner and Winemaker at Vintage One in Toronto will lead the helm for Canada. Phil Crozier of Gaucho restaurant along with Josh Donaghy-Spire and Frazer Thompson Winemaker and CEO, Chapel Down will be the candidates from the UK.
If you are looking for a way to get involved at home, consider purchasing one of the following wines to create your own Malbec World Day event. One advantage of these selections and many other wines from Argentina is their focus on organic agriculture. So grab a bottle of Malbec, invite over some friends and raise a glass to this delicious wine!
Susana Balbo 2008 Signature Malbec, Mendoza (retails about $25)
Have you heard of Susana Balbo? Well, she’s one of the most respected and well known winemakers in Argentina. She believes that the winery should operate in a sustainable way with minimal use of technology. Grapes are hand harvested and whatever does not make it into the final wine goes back into the vineyard.
Susana’s wines are known for elegance rather than an “in your face” style. (That’s a woman’s touch, for sure.) This full bodied red has concentrated blackberry aromas with hints of cocoa and mint. The tannins are well integrated but definitely pair best with grilled meats, poultry or game.
If you pick up a bottle, you might notice that it feels lighter than usual. It’s not because of all your workouts at the gym. Susana has begun using lighter glass that results in a smaller carbon footprint. So you’ll being doing your part for the environment, too!
Bodini 2010 Malbec, Mendoza (retails about $13)
I love this medium bodied red for its velvety texture along with aromas of blackberry, cherry and caramel. All that fruit along with its structured tannins makes this a great pairing with steak, burgers or poultry. Honestly I love it all by itself too!
Bodini stands for “Built On Dreams of Individuals Not Institutions”. The name says a lot for the focus of the winery. They strive to make the winery and its operation sustainable meaning minimal use of chemicals and operating in a way that preserves natural resources. For instance they use drip irrigation which is more expensive but better for the land than the traditional flood irrigation methods. They also care about giving back to the community so a portion of the proceeds from the wine are used to create a scholarship.
Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®, is a wine educator and author of the award-winning book “The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine.” Her specialty is delivering wine edu-tainment for corporate events, group tastings and team-building seminars. She is also a sought after guest expert on radio shows across the country, including Martha Stewart Radio.
Read more of Laurie’s work at The Sipping Point in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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