Tradition and innovation is like oil and water, the Malbec grape, known as Côt in the Bordeaux region of France, has often been a victim of tradition but has lately become a product of innovation. I’ve become fascinated with the grape varieties and continue to pour through research to try and define some properties of the grapes. I discovered some Argentinian Malbec wines and wanted to explore the history of Malbec, where it comes from and why.
As it turns out, Malbec is a big grape in France. This is one of the top six grapes in France but tradition binds it to be more of a claret blending grape. You can blend it with Merlot, Cabernet and many others great red wines. French wine tradition has Malbec blended with many Bordeaux reds but that’s the tradition. Today, we’re seeing Malbec standing alone in its own wines in other countries, especially Argentina.
Malbec is a thin skinned grape, loves a lot of sun and Argentina has what the grape loves most. Province of Mendoza in Argentina has given Malbec new life and respect in the wine world. While France may stick with tradition, new regions are showing us what the grape can do with time, care and attention. Rich dark colored red wines with a taste of the lands, minerals, powerful tannins and plum-like flavors. The grape is dark, so dark that it fits well into a blend of wines as it provides a rich and elegant coloring to other reds.
Alone, Malbec is helping to expand the palates of wine drinkers and show off its great properties. The grape needs sun and heat, more so than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Argentina is ready to provide the correct balance of desires. The Malbec, in turn, provides wine drinkers with a luxurious drink for a quality price.
The mass of wine drinkers tend to follow trends and stick with their Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and a few others while Malbec is left on the shelf. This provides ample opportunity for dedicated wine drinkers to gain access to these wonderful bottles of wine for a great price. That is, until everyone realizes the Malbec varietal shouldn’t be avoided and we’ll see demand rise along with the prices.