Argentinian Malbec: all you need to know before your trip
On April the 17th, 1830, the Malbec grapes were brought to Argentina from France. That initiative was such a success that nowadays Argentina is the biggest Malbec producer in the world and Argentinian Malbec is recognized around the world. This is why on April the 17th everyone celebrates Malbec World Day.
Travelling to Argentina without tasting this renowned wine is as unacceptable as not eating a good old asado or not going to a tango show. This article will allow you to fully take advantage of your experience in Argentina and will let you know all you need to about Malbec.
Where do they produce the Argentinian Malbec?
The main viticultural region of Argentina is Mendoza - Maipú, the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo form the Mendoza Wine Route. However, you can also find these grapes in La Rioja, Patagonia, Salta and San Juan. The Pyros Barrel Selected Malbec 2014 was produced in San Juan - it was chosen as the best wine produced outside of European vineyards at the Japan Wine Challenge 2016.
Joaquín Alberdi, wine expert and owner of a wine cellar named after himself explains that “Malbec is the only continental wine in the world, since it is produced without any maritime influence”. That particularity, says Alberdi, is why the Argentinian Malbec became a symbol of the country and why every tourist travelling to Argentina “should try Malbec from different regions to experiment the difference in flavours and textures as the altitude changes”.
How is the Argentinian Malbec?
Malbec is a dark and intense wine. Its aromas will leave a delicious taste of cherry, strawberry, plum, raisin and even maybe red pepper in your mouth. Besides, this sweet, hot and soft wine will overwhelm your palate with flavours. If the wine has aged in oak barrels, you will also notice coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes.
The ideal plates to uncork a good Argentinian Malbec are red meat, hard cheese or pasta with tomato sauce.
Recommended Argentinian Malbec wine cellars
“Nowadays, all the Malbec of Argentina are of the highest quality”, declares Joaquín Alberdi. Therefore, making a list of the best cellars is a complicated task. However, you can find below four interesting options to suit all tastes and budgets.
1. Bodega Domingo Molina
This is a family cellar, located in North Yacochuy - the Calchaquí Valley, Salta province. The experienced Osvaldo brothers, Gabriel and Rafael Domingo run it. Since the cellar is 2 kilometers below sea level, at the foothills of the Andes, they can produce an unique Malbec.
What to bring home: Finca Domingo Malbec (About $225 Argentine pesos)
2. Bodega Viña 1924
This cellar is located in the Vistalba Valley in Mendoza. This is one of the oldest vineyards in the area. The grapes grow between the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, a pretty good location since it is 980 meters above sea level. Their wines are rather fruity and complex and if the consumer pays close attention, they will notice a taste of vanilla or cinnamon.
What to bring home: Malbec de Ángeles (About $385 Argentine pesos)
3. Bodega Altocedro:
The artisanal wines of this cellar are produced in La Consulta, a viticultural region of Mendoza. This is a unique location for grape production thanks to its altitude, sun exposure, average temperature and also the water from the natural springs, ideal for irrigation of the grapes. In 2001, the first Altocedra wine range was produced and since then it has become increasingly well-known not only in Argentina but across the globe as well.
What to bring home: Altocedro Reserva Malbec (about $700 Argentina pesos)
4. Bodega Matervini:
Matervini was born out of the hard work of Santiago Achával and Roberto Cipresso. “A great question made us create this wine in 2008: “what comes after Malbec?”. Our answer then was: “More Malbec, from other places and with a different personality!”, state the entrepreneurs. Their wines are from the Uco Valley, Las Heras, Cafayate and Luján de Cuyo.
What to bring home: Alteza (about $1200 Argentine peso)
Where to do wine tasting in Argentina?
If you want to bring a souvenir from Argentina, Malbec definitely is a great choice. Enjoy your trip to Argentina and taste a whole range of wines with a professional oenologist so that you can put one of your favourite bottles of Malbec in your suitcase.
If you travel to Mendoza, the viticultural region par excellence, be sure to book the Malbec Wine Experience Tour and visit three extraordinary cellars. You can also discover the main areas of the Mendoza Wine Route. In Salta, you cannot miss the High Altitude Wine Tour in Cafayate - the specialty there is the torrontés, a unique grape variety. If you only stay in Buenos Aires, do not worry! You can go to the Joaquín Alberdi Wine Tasting for a most complete wine tasting experience.
Discover all you can about the Argentinian traditions and live an authentic South American experience. Be sure to include Malbec and tango in your travel itinerary. If you want to know what are the other activities you cannot miss during your trip to Argentina, contact the expert team at Argentina4u and Bsas4u to clarify any doubt you may have.
By Keilma Rojas, Venezuelan journalist specialised in culture and actuality. Writer in Spanish for Daytours4u / Translated to English by: Grégory Noël