The Making of Malbec

April 17 marks Malbec World Day, so open a bottle and celebrate

Wine holidays are fun, especially when they celebrate significant moments in history.

It was today in 1853 that Argentinian president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento vowed to transform Argentina’s wine industry when he asked soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget to bring over new vines from France.

Among Pouget’s selections was malbec, a purplish variety known for its inky hue and robust tannins. Even though malbec originated in Cahors in southwestern France and is now grown globally, it is increasingly celebrated as an Argentine specialty. Indeed some of the best and most affordable examples hail from that part of the world.

To honor malbec and Sarmiento’s pledge, here are three favorites to pour.

Graffigna "Centenario" Malbec 2010 (Mendoza) $12

From the historic San Juan winery, this dark purple malbec delivers intense berry aromas, notes of spicy black pepper, and well-integrated tannins.


Bodega Renacer "Punto Final Classico" Malbec 2010 (Mendoza) $12

A classic malbec from half-century old vines in northern Mendoza, this medium-bodied red features bright fruit aromas, flavors of chocolate-covered raspberries, and silky, supple tannins.


Familia Zuccardi "Serie A" Malbec 2009 (Mendoza) $15

This is one big malbec from one of the biggest family-owned wineries in Mendoza. Concentrated dark fruit flavors and aromas of baked figs are followed by spicy dark chocolate flavors.


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