Wine Trivia Tuesday | MALBEC
It's been a while so to get Wine Trivia Tuesday kicked off again I've decided to focus on the French grape which everything thinks is from Argentina.
(image credit - thehotelspecialist.it)
A delicious, yet lesser known varietal to many (as I was reminded this past weekend when I had a Malbec included as one of the varietals available for tasting amongst a few of the more well-known such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc). For those who've done some international wine buying they would have found that many Malbec's being produced are coming from Argentina, where this grape and the winemaker's nurturing it are making great strides in refining the craft of producing wine from it.
Although the Argentinians are synonymous with Malbec these days, the varietal's origin is actually from France, and makes up one of the five Noble Bordeaux Varietals, with the other four being Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The French don't see the varietal as a wine worthy of single-varietal status, or so I've come to understand, hence you don't find Malbec bottled on its own, but rather making up part of a blend.
Malbec has a rather unique, enticing character wheel, with an inky, dark purple color found in freshly bottled juice, to interesting dark plummy fruits and smokey aromas on the nose. Unlike other similar red varietals Malbec offers a medium (sometimes fuller) bodied style, and goes well with gamey bird meat such as ostrich or duck, as it's is accompanied by a medium-bodied tannin structure.
So how did Malbec come to being planted in Argentina? To summarize, back in 1868 a French botanist planted the first Malbec vineyards as ordered to by the mayor of Mendoza. And since then, as they say, the rest is history!
Today, Malbec is grown all over the world. Linton Park Estate right here in South Africa, produces two beautiful styles of the wine, where the grapes are sourced from the same vineyards on the estate.
Firstly, a straight forward Estate Malbec (R110 per bottle) produced as a full bodied wine with a deep purpose color. Rich, ripe tannins and juice berry fruit aromas represent on the nose, following through to a complex yet mouthwatering palate, showing off well integrated tannins.
The second label is the Café Malbec (R110 per bottle), which is produced in a style similar to your coffee-style Pinotage, however offering deep, rich and smokey characters. The plum and raspberry aromas make way on the nose for a surprisingly elegant chocolate character on the palate, resulting in a deep, long finish.
If you'd like to give this little grape varietal a go why not grab a case of each and enjoy a bottle or two with friends to find out what all the fuss is about. Of our total vineyards planted in South Africa less than 0.5% are planted to Malbec, so it's still something truly unique on our shores.
Till next time ...