But do you know where most Malbec wines come from? Although its historic home is France, most Malbec today hails from Argentina.
If that’s a surprise, the five facts that follow — all fascinating, of course — will turn you into an instant Argentina wine expert…
- Argentina ranks fifth among all wine-producing countries.
That’s fifth not in quality, but in overall production — the number of bottles that hit the marketplace each year. Some would say that the country has vaulted ahead of a few Old World wine countries in terms of overall quality as well, but we won’t get into that debate; there’s still plenty of great wine being made across the pond. But now, the same is true in South America, and Argentina has become a vinous flag-bearer.
- Old World… or New World?
We think of Argentina as being a New World wine country, simply because of its location on the global map. But grapevines were first planted there in the mid-16th century — long before some of France’s most revered regions were planted.
- Bring oxygen!
John Denver famously sang, “Rocky Mountain high…” but he had never been to Salta, Argentina, which is home to the highest commercial vineyard in the world. Elevation: over 9,800 feet.
- A new home for Malbec.
By the late 1970s, Malbec was on the ropes. Worldwide plantings of the red variety had declined by 75 percent, and Malbec seemed destined to be nothing more than a minor blending grape in the red cuvees of Bordeaux. But it found a welcoming new home in Argentina — somewhat of a surprise, since the locals had long preferred white wines. But substantial international investment fueled a renaissance for Malbec, which now is Argentina’s leading vinous export.
- Mark your calendar.
Check out today’s special Cyber Circle offer from Vinesse, add a few bottles to your wine rack, and then open your 2015 calendar to the April page and place a giant M on the April 17 square. That’s Malbec World Day, providing a great reason to open a bottle and toast what has become Argentina’s signature wine.