10/02/2012

The Malbec Adventure in Argentina

Malbec is originally from the southwest of France, were known as COT, and it has a tannic, hard style. It was introduced in Argentina in 1852, by Michael Pouget, a French agronomist hired by the Argentinean Government.

In 1863, the Phylloxera plague took a strong hold on France, causing serious problems to the wine industry of that country. Vines were hard hit and began to deteriorate massively on the southern Rhone.

Argentina was one of the few regions, together with Chile and Cyprus that remained exempt from phylloxera. Towards the end of the XIX century, argentine viticulture experienced exponential development in the hands of Italian, French and Spanish immigrants. Malbec in particular adapted quickly to the varied terroirs offered by Argentina´s rugged landscape, and began to produce wines better than in its original land. Argentina becomes the only country to have original malbec vines from true French heritage. A superior malbec then was elaborated in French oak casks, and a star was born: Argentine Malbec, a delicate passion that is characteristically ours.
Presently, Argentina is the main producer of malbec in the world, with 76.603 acres planted across the country, followed by France (13.097 acres), Italy, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and the US., although none of these countries is known for the production of malbec as a single varietal wine. It is used to add roundness to blends.

Argentine vintners have grown malbec everywhere and winemakers are constantly experimenting with new techniques and conditions. Today you can find thriving succulent malbecs along the Andes Range, from Salta to Patagonia, each with its own distinct personality and charm.

Lujan de Cuyo (Mendoza) was the first region in the Americas to gain the regulatory Denomination of Origin (DOC) designation for Malbec.

A Malbec wine from this sub-region has an intense and dark cherry red color, which may look almost black. Lujan has deep stony soils, controlled irrigation, excellent sunlight exposure, and good altitude for vineyards. Malbecs from Lujan de Cuyo are wines with good mineral expression, in which black fruit and sweet spices are predominant.

At Uco Valley, the combination of high elevation, alluvial soils, controlled irrigation sourced from the Andes, a long growing season (over 250 sunny days a year), little rain and vast temperature differences between day and night are all conducive to growing quality grapes. These climate and geography elements come together to provide excellent fruit ripening and concentration, developing extreme colors, aromas, flavors and textures resulting in complex wines that are deep in color, intense in aromas and rich in flavors.
So, malbecs from Tupungato, Tunuyán and San Carlos (Uco Valley), have a more elegant expression and clearly define spicy floral notes in different layers.

In Patagonia, Neuquén and Rio Negro, we find a slightly colder climate, and less extreme altitudes, which help grape berries to retain acidity, and produce wines that have notes of ripe black fruit, combined with marked mineral character.

The Argentine NW, Salta, Jujuy and Catamarca, loves the sun and the heights, like all products from this region, malbecs has an unique expression and personality, aromas that evoke very ripped and black fruit, black pepper, paprika and a very solid structure, with firm sweet tannins.

Malbec wine has great varietal expression in regions were the wide temperature range, and lime, clay or sandy soils are find, such as those along the Andes Mountain Range.

As a result of these geographical and climatic conditions, Argentine malbecs stand out primarily for the quality of their tannins, sweet, silky, mouth-filling, ranging from simple fruity wines, to complex wines with good aging capacity. Argentine malbec has maintained, vintage after vintage, a high standard of quality.

www.rosellsoler.com

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