The 17th of April is World Malbec Day.
Malbec is a full-bodied red wine, with a smooth and bold taste. Some Malbec wines can have a more oaky taste.
It is made from a dark purple grape of the same name.
75% of the Malbec wine in the world comes from Argentina. ”Today, more than 75 percent of the world’s Malbec comes from Argentina.” Sumpter, Sam. The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine. VinePair. Accessed April 2021 at https://vinepair.com/articles/malbec-argentina-wine-guide/
In Argentina, the grape grows in a range of 2,300 kilometres (1430 miles), equivalent to the distance between Edinburgh, Scotland and Marrakesh in northern Africa. The three main growing regions are San Juan, Salta, and Mendoza, with Mendoza being the largest region by far: “Mendoza is home to 85 percent of Argentina’s Malbec plantings.” Sumpter, Sam. The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine. VinePair. Accessed April 2021 at https://vinepair.com/articles/malbec-argentina-wine-guide/
In France, the grape is also known by the name of “cot”, and is cultivated in Cahors in the south-west of the country, and in the Loire. If a French wine says “Cahors” on the label, it is made from Malbec grapes: “Cahors is always made from Malbec.” Karlsson, Per and Britt. World Malbec Day: The Best Mendoza and Cahors Wines. Forbes Magazine. 20 April 2015. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlsson/2015/04/20/did-you-miss-world-malbec-day-no-worries-still-plenty-of-mendoza-and-cahors-malbec-wine-around/?sh=35b9b9df3a4a
To celebrate today, some wine stores near you may offer free tastings of Malbec wine.
Whether they do or not, perhaps you could treat yourself to a bottle of Argentine Malbec. You may also wish to buy also a bottle of French Malbec, to compare!
In honour of World Malbec Day, you could enjoy the wine with some Argentine food. Malbec would pair well with barbequed meat, beef fajitas, or some Argentine-style empanadas.”
In Spanish, the day is called: Día Mundial del Malbec.
World Malbec Day is an initiative promoted by “Wines of Argentina”, and first launched in 2011. Wines of Argentina World Malbec Day. Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.winemag.com/wines-of-argentina-world-malbec-day/ It is supported by several Argentine government departments.
On 17 April 1853, local officials in the Mendoza province approved the region’s first agronomy school, Quinta Normal and Agricultural School, which would study grapes for agricultural purposes. This date was chosen by the “Wines of Argentina” organization as the day for World Malbec Day.
But how did a French grape, Malbec, actually get to Argentina?
A French agricultural specialist, Michel Aimé Pouget (1821-1875), was teaching agricultural knowledge at the Quinta Normal de Santiago institute in Chile in the 1840s. The institute imported various agricultural products, including grape vines, from France, to try growing in Chile. It’s thought likely that the Malbec grape arrived this way in Chile in the mid 1840s.
An Argentine man named Domingo Faustino Sarmiento was in exile in Chile at the time. An intellectual, activist, and writer, he took an interest in the agricultural institute. When he returned to Argentina, he proposed that a similar agricultural institute should be established in Argentina. A local government in the Mendoza region approved the establishment of the Quinta Normal and Agricultural School on the 17th of April 1853. Authorities persuaded Michel Aimé Pouget to make the move from Chile to Argentina to get the new school set up and run it. Among other activities, it would study and promote grapes for wine in Argentina.
It’s believed that Malbec cuttings arrived with Pouget from Chile:
“Links between Santiago de Chile and Mendoza, a short mule trek over the Andes away, were much stronger than those between Mendoza and the Argentine capital Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast. The French vine cuttings that found their way to Mendoza in the 1850s were therefore almost certainly imported over the Andes from Chile.” Robinson, Jancis. How Malbec got to Argentina. JancisRobinson.com Limited. 23 June 2015. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/how-malbec-got-to-argentina-via-chile
The Malbec grape did very well in Argentina, even better than it did in Chile, or France. And, as luck would have it, it was brought to Chile and Argentina just in time, because in 1863, the phylloxera plague hit France, destroying grape vines there.
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento went on to become president of Argentina from 1868 to 1874.
Barrow, Andrew. World Malbec Day. Readers Digest Magazine. April 2015. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.readersdigest.co.uk/food-drink/drinks/world-malbec-day
French, Phoebe. Industry body Wines of Argentina has altered its Malbec World Day celebrations due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Drinks Business. 14 April 2020. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/04/wofa-moves-malbec-world-day-celebrations-online/
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Kirby, Terry. Wines of the week: Seven Argentine bottles for World Malbec Day. London: The Independent. 14 April 2018. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/world-malbec-day-argentina-wine-red-a8301046.html
MacPhee-Sigurdson, Ben. Any day is a Malbec day. Winnipeg, Canada: Winnipeg Free Press. 12 April 2014. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/food/any-day-is-a-malbec-day-255006161.html
Malbec World Day. Wines of Argentina. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.winesofargentina.org/en/about-us/marketing/mwd/
McLean, Jennifer. Malbec World Day 10th year. Wines of Argentina / PrNewsWire. 16 April 2020. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/malbec-world-day-10th-year-an-homage-to-the-star-variety-of-argentina-on-april-17-2020-301041489.html
Nevison, James. Wine Guy: Celebrating Malbec World Day. Vancouver, British Columbia: The Province. 10 April 2019. Accessed April 2021 at https://theprovince.com/life/food/wine/wine-guy-celebrating-malbec-world-day
Nicklin, Helena. Marvellous Malbecs under £15 for Malbec Day. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.thethreedrinkers.com/magazine-content/tag/malbec+day
Waters, Christopher. Argentinian winemakers celebrate a decade of global success, much of it owed to Canadian wine drinkers. Toronto, Canada: The Globe and Mail. 7 April 2021.
|↑1||”Today, more than 75 percent of the world’s Malbec comes from Argentina.” Sumpter, Sam. The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine. VinePair. Accessed April 2021 at https://vinepair.com/articles/malbec-argentina-wine-guide/|
|↑2||Sumpter, Sam. The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine. VinePair. Accessed April 2021 at https://vinepair.com/articles/malbec-argentina-wine-guide/|
|↑3||Karlsson, Per and Britt. World Malbec Day: The Best Mendoza and Cahors Wines. Forbes Magazine. 20 April 2015. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlsson/2015/04/20/did-you-miss-world-malbec-day-no-worries-still-plenty-of-mendoza-and-cahors-malbec-wine-around/?sh=35b9b9df3a4a|
|↑4||Wines of Argentina World Malbec Day. Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.winemag.com/wines-of-argentina-world-malbec-day/|
|↑5||Robinson, Jancis. How Malbec got to Argentina. JancisRobinson.com Limited. 23 June 2015. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/how-malbec-got-to-argentina-via-chile|