Reasons to celebrate Malbec Month
April is Malbec Month, which also celebrates the hugely successful global initiative Malbec World Day (MWD) which was hosted on 17 April, coordinated by Wines of Argentina (WofA).
The campaign showcases a series of events and activities both nationally and across Argentina’s main export markets and effectively positions Argentinian Malbec in the world as well as helps to revere and uphold the success of the exceptional diversity of wine across the Argentinian wine industry.
As an initiative, it was held for the first time in 2011 and has since managed to position itself as a fundamental part of the international calendar of celebrations.
The month itself has the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship and the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR), and is part of the Argentina 2030 Strategic Wine Plan. As such, each April, WofA goes out of its way to do what it can to renew its commitment to position Malbec at the centre of a global toast by organising a series of celebrations coordinated by Argentine representatives abroad and numerous independent initiatives.
Speaking to the drinks business, Lucia Romero, managing director at el Porvenir de Cafayate in Salta, explained: “As a wine producer, I consider the Malbec World Day initiative to be of great importance for our winery and for the Argentine wine industry in general. This event is a unique opportunity to continue spreading the richness and diversity of Malbec around the world, and to give it the importance it deserves as one of the great grape varieties.”
According to Romero the month is an important opportunity for Argentinian winemakers to reveal how distinct and different the grape variety can be from place to place, but also draw the world’s attention to the high quality available. WIth this in mind, she outlined how, for instance, “in particular, Malbec from northern Argentina is a very distinctive and different variety, which stands out for its complexity and unique character”. She added: “We believe that the current challenge is to communicate the diversity of regions in Argentina and how Malbec thrives in all of them, so that consumers can discover that from the north to the south of the country there are different styles of Malbec, each with its own characteristics”.
Romero told db: “Malbec from Cafayate, for example, is characterised as a wine with a great intensity of colour, dark and deep. On the nose, there are notes of ripe red and black fruits, such as plums, raspberries, blackberries and cherries, as well as floral and spicy notes” and hinted that there is much for other markets to explore and learn about the grape variety and how it adapts across the Argentinian landscape.
In terms of distribution by province, Mendoza leads the ranking with the largest surface area, with 84.75% (39,463 ha), followed by San Juan with 2,840 ha (6.10%), Salta with 1,681 ha (3.61%) and La Rioja with 814 ha (1.75%).
Roberto de la Mota, president of the DOC Luján de Cuyo pointed out that “celebrating the Malbec World Day is very important for Argentina as a wine country” and explained how “this variety arrived from Bordeaux France on middle of XIX century, before the huge phylloxera bane that affected European vineyards.” He also agreed with the findings to reiterate how “it was extremely well-adapted…especially in Mendoza”.
Often called the “Messi of wine”, as Malbec has been called following a football analogy, it is still positioned at the forefront of grape production in the country with 4,242,644 quintals, representing 22.35% of the total grapes entered into wineries and, more specifically, 42.4% of the total reds put forward for Argentinian winemaking.
Revealing a little more about the initiative’s past, de la Mota explains how, in Argentina, “we celebrate the 17 April as the Malbec World Day, because on this day in 1853 Argentina created the Quinta Agronómica de Mendoza, the first School of Agriculture, Viticulture and Enology in Argentina with its first director was Michel Aimé Pouget”. This historical significance, he explained, meant that “this French technician was the introducer of Malbec in our country” and it was an integral move that has led now to the fact that “Argentina is a bigger Malbec producer in a world” and so, he added, “we think that to dedicate one day for it is very important because this grape represent very well our wines”.
Speaking about the wine’s attributes, he revealed: “Our Malbec is a wine with deep colour with hints of violet and has very intense aromas, with a lot of fruits like plums, black cherries, raspberries and floral notes.” But, he explained, it is “certainly in the mouth where Malbec is so special because it also offers up a big structure and a concentration that many describe as soft and round with sweet tannins that make this wine very gentle, affordable and easy to drink.”
Ana Viola, president of Patagonia Chamber and owner of Malma agreed that “the MWD is a great way to get consumers to know Argentina” and observed how it “is the natural and sensible way to showcase the terroir diversity of the country and how Malbec thrives in each one.
Argentinian Malbec is undoubtedly Argentina’s flagship variety and the spearhead that allowed the national wine industry to make its way into world markets. With 56.4% of the total fractionated wine sold in foreign market (INV preliminary data), Malbec continues to consolidate itself as the most exported variety, strengthening its international position.
The huge impact that has been achieved by the MWD campaign over time has led to this experience also being replicated within Argentina by Provincial Governments and local entities.
Malbec in numbers
Total cultivated surface of Malbec vinification in Argentina – 46,565 hectares. This is equal to 24.3% of Argentina’s total cultivated surface.
Other red varieties vinified in Argentina are equal to 67,394 hectares. With Malbec’s 46,565 hectares, this makes up 40.8% of the red varieties and 185% has grown the area planted with Malbec in Argentina in the last 22 years (2000-2022).
With a presence in 17 of 24 Argentine provinces, the equivalent of 70.8% of the territory, and 46,565 hectares planted in the country, Malbec represents 24.3% of the total area cultivated with vines in Argentina (destined for production) and 40.8% of the surface of red varieties (for production).
Over the years, Argentinian Malbec has reinforced its leadership, becoming once again the most widely cultivated variety, having increased its area by 185% as of 2000.
Pablo Braida well regarded as the first master sommelier from Argentina described how celebrating Malbec is “unequivocally connected to Argentina’s wine identity” and pointed out how “Malbec became an immigrant that adapted really well, and made the country its home” and added to this, the variety “reflects like no other the places where it is grown, out of the countless Argentine terroirs: from the more generous versions of Salta, passing through the plushness of Lujan, the more mineral tones of Uco Valley, ending up with the elegance in some of the examples coming from Patagonia… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The celebrations for the Malbec Argentino Champion can be followed on social media through the hashtags #MalbecArgentino and #MalbecWorldDay – there is also more information that can be found on the official page www.malbecworldday.com – for more on the topic, visit here.