Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far

4. Latin flavour: Malbec

No list of the wine trends of this century would be complete without mentioning Malbec – a grape that has infiltrated almost every part of the trade, and particularly those restaurants serving red meat. It is also a grape now planted in a wide range of places, but most famously connected with South America, even though its native home is the little-known region of Cahors in southwest France. Few unions have emerged as successfully since we launched db as Argentina in connection with Malbec. As we’ve mentioned, in the past two decades, db has witnessed Provençal rosé come onto the scene strongly, along with New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc, and, on a smaller scale, England and sparkling.

But what’s notable about Malbec’s relationship with Latin America is the way in which Argentina has taken this sidelined French grape and made it famous. In doing so, Argentina has generated a lot of competition, with Chile, Australia and with Southern France, planting more Malbec, hoping to cash in on the variety’s newfound popularity. As plantings of Malbec increase worldwide, albeit from a small base, Argentina wants to prove that its Malbec is unique. Not only that, but fine. And, crucially, stylistically diverse.

While the mainstream wine consumer may see Malbec as synonymous with the deeply coloured, juicy red that’s perfect for consuming with marbled meat, Argentine producers view this grape as a medium for conveying the nation’s varied terroir. Whether it’s thanks to soil type, climate, elevation, vine selection, or vineyard age and management, as well as winemaking techniques, Argentine Malbec can take on many forms, from herbal, aromatic, peppery styles to concentrated, tannic, chocolate-laden expressions.

This is something we’ve seen in tastings, having added to our Global Masters series with a blind tasting focused on Malbec, starting in 2015. Such a competition has also highlighted the rising quality of Malbecs from outside of South America, and, in particular, the grape’s original source: Cahors. Indeed, it was a Malbec from this region that gained the highest score in 2018’s Malbec Masters competition.

Toast: Viña Doña Paula, El Alto Parcel, Mendoza, Argentina, 2014 (medal-winner Malbec Masters)

One Response to “Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far”

  1. Greg Fischer says:

    With green drinks in mind – The most sustainable wine on Earth is Mead. Craft Mead has developed not to be that off tasting syrupy overly sweet wine. With the different varietals of honey we are seeing craft meadmakers make fine mead both dry and sweet. Our Meadery Wild Blossom in Chicago produces the most locally wine made in the city.

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