Covid-19 may be stopping us from doing many things, but it certainly can’t take away our pleasure in tasting (or guzzling!) WINE… oh glorious wine. Or shall I say MALBEC, the grape of the hour. Today, April 17th, the globe celebrates ‘Malbec World Day’.
Here’s a bit of background on the glorious variety…
Malbec is largely associated with Argentina but before it landed there, it originated in France where it played a primary role as one of the main Bordeaux grapes.
April 17th was chosen in commemoration of the day former Argentine president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento successfully jump-started his country’s wine industry. He commissioned French soil expert Michel Aime Pouget to import new vines from Bordeaux back in 1853. This special holiday was developed by Wines of Argentina to honour and celebrate the success of the flagship grape they are so proud of. The first World Malbec Day was held in 2011, with 72 events in 45 cities, across 36 countries. Today, this has expanded to many more!
Not familiar with this grape? That’s okay, we are here to help educate you!
This black-skinned grape variety is one of the world’s most versatile, food friendly wines with a very reasonable price tag. French Malbec tends to be softer, more luxurious with spice and black pepper where Malbec from Argentina is big, bold and chocolaty. Malbec in Australia tends to be somewhere in between.
You can expect the primary flavours of plum, blackberry and some red berries. It has a big, juicy and sumptuous flavour with a robust structure and moderately firm tannins. This means it is a fantastic variety of wine to cellar! If you tend to always pick a shiraz or a peppery pinot noir when choosing a bottle of red, next time open a Malbec for something different, as it has a similar flavour profile.
In the past, due to it being a difficult grape to grow, Malbec was typically used as a blending grape in Australia, with no real emphasis on the single variety. However, as times have changed with better viticulture and better strains of the variety, it’s thriving as a stand alone grape in moderate climates such as the Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, Margaret River and the Great Southern… just to name a few.
Malbec brings an abundance of fruit character, smoke and spice in a typically full-bodied red which means It’s perfect to bring to Australia’s favourite pastime – the BBQ – being a delicious accompaniment with grilled or barbecued meats. It’s rich textures, robust structure and higher tannins call for dishes with a bold flavour to match, such as hard cheeses, cured meats, beef, veal, chicken, pork, sausage, slow cooked dishes and spicy food. I personally love mine with some dark chocky too!
If you’re looking for a Malbec to try and want to try local, here’s some of our favourite Malbec drops from the Swan and Bickley Valley wine regions.
- Faber Vineyard (Swan Valley Winery) – 2018 Frankland River Malbec – Aged for 15 months in new American oak hogsheads to mature which complement the rich fruit flavours of the wine. Jube, mulberry, spice and rolling tobacco flavours with an attractive vanilla oak top note. Rich, fleshy, firm and medium bodied. Currently free shipping Australia Wide!
- Jane Brook Estate (Swan Valley Winery) – 2017 Margaret River Malbec – Aged for 18 months in new and used French oak to preserve varietal integrity. Bold, juicy and youthful with flavours of vanilla, ripe mulberry and cardamom. Drink room temperature now or cellar up to 2023 and beyond! Currently free shipping within Perth metro areas!
- Olive Farm Wines (Swan Valley Winery) – 2018 Swan Valley Malbec – The use of old-oak has allowed the fruit to shine through and the result is a wine which oozes class. Medium ruby hues, fresh and fruit-forward notes of plum, mulberry and violets with underlying sweet and spicy aromas of anise and nutmeg. It’s medium bodied with ample juicy-sweet raspberry, plum and mulberry fruits supported by delicate chocolaty, fine mouth-filling tannins and a gentle warm finish. It’s drinking well now and for up to 3 years.
- John Kosovich Wines (Swan Valley Winery) – 2016 Swan Valley Malbec – Aged in French oak casks for 12 months this wine will develop further complexity from cellaring to 10 to 15 years. A full bodied red which whilst being robust is a very fruit driven style with excellent tannin and body. Currently offering delivery free within Perth metro areas.
- Fairbrossen (Bickley Valley Winery) – 2018 Margaret River Malbec – Aged for 18 months in new French oak to produce a complex wine with lifted blueberry fruits and a palate packed full of juicy blue fruits and ripe tannins. Currently offering 30% off all wine purchases with free shipping.
So, there you have it – your official excuse to open a bottle of wine for a cheeky glass (or three) and celebrate Malbec World Day (iso-style of course… in your pj’s!). If you haven’t experienced this grape varietal before, do yourself a favour and indulge your senses by sourcing it through one of your local wineries #supportlocal.
Make sure you get that BBQ crankin’ or slow cook something delicious to compliment your Malbec too – it would also be delicious with a charcuterie board with hard cheeses and cured meats! And of course, don’t forget to take your celebration of this day to social media. Share the hashtag #MalbecWorldDay to let your friends and followers know that you’re taking part in this global celebration of wine!
Taryn – d’Vine Tours Operations Manager