Long time, no see…or post for that matter, since we must admit that our work and wine studies have kept up away from the blog for far too long. But here you have us, the Winederers are back to tell of… what else if not their beloved Malbec. More particularly World Malbec Day, as such was celebrated on 17 April 2018, in a tasting hosted by His Excellency Mr Felipe Guillermo Alvarez de Toledo, Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina in Romania, at his private residency.
What is World Malbec Day?
As you might remember from our previous posts (please see A la recherce du Malbec perdu… (I) and A la recherce du Malbec perdu… (II) for a brief history of the grape), Argentina did not only take to Malbec, they fully adopted it and made it their flagship grape. Seldom has another grape, which is not, mind you, native to a particular country, become so deeply intertwined with its adoptive country. But then again, this is not just any grape, it is the incredibly resilient Malbec and this goes along way in grape world. Be it phylloxera, winter freeze or plain commercial competition, this grape has overcome them all.
As part of making Malbec a steam engine for its entire winemaking industry, Argentina brought the grape from Chile (no, not France, since the French had already successfully exported it to neighbouring Chile, under the watch of a French agronomist, Michel Aimé Pouget) and founded a superior education venue focused on winemaking, Quinta Normal de Mendoza. On 17 April 1853, the establishment of the Quinta Normal de Mendoza was approved into law and thus the cornerstone for a new age in Argentinian winemaking was turned.
The Argentinian winemaking industry would undergo many more changes, on the back of social and cultural changes, until fully appreciating the power behind its varietal, high-end Malbec wines, but the date of 17 April undoubtedly deserves its recognition as World Malbec Day.
How was World Malbec Day celebrated?
World Malbec Day is typically celebrated throughout the world under the high patronage of Argentinian embassies or cultural centres. Romania was no exception and His Excellency Mr Felipe Guillermo Alvarez de Toledo, Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina in Romania, hosted a Malbec tasting, in honour of the day, at his private residence.
The event was attended by His Excellency Mr Jose Miguel Menchaca, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile in Romania, as representative of the country to whom Argentina “technically” owes its flagship vine. While open by invitation only, the event was attended by quite a few of the regular wine lovers, bloggers and wine journalists or other industry actors. The atmosphere was relaxed and people genuinely enjoyed the peaceful evening in the garden of the residence – weather did help a lot.
What wines were available for tasting?
Halewood Wines, Vinexpert, Vinorama, Winelist, Andes Wines and ReWine presented mostly varietal Malbecs for tasting. These included Norton, Bousquet, Kaiken, Trapiche and Salenstein amongst others. While one does not wish to be biased, credit must be given where credit is due – Norton and Bousquet were fabulous. Kaiken was its usual over-the-top self – I’ve have tasted several of its labels as part of my WSET studies and they are a gem every time. Trapiche is great value-for-money asset – pair with anything and it simply flows.
Ultimately that is the beauty of Malbec, it can be both simple to understand or rich and luscious, you can have it with pasta or fine Argentinian beef, you can sip your way through a bottle and still be ready for a second. This wine is incredibly versatile and be it the genius of Argentinian winemaking pioneers like Nicolas Catena Zapata or simply the demand forces of the market, it has managed to find its way into consumers’ hearts. Mind you Romania plants little, if any, but a take a trip to any local wine bar or specialized shop and prepare to be amazed: anything from 5 EUR to 50 EUR Argentinian Malbec is available. Should there be no local demand for it, you would not have a demand and, consequently, supply would also falter, but that is far from being the case.
We will soon post our final (and way too delayed) entry on Cahors Malbec along with a few thoughts on comparing and contrasting Medoza and Cahors Malbec. The conclusion is simple and we can give you a heads up on this one – they are simply too different to compare in anything but name, enjoy them as such 🙂 .