Years ago, president of Argentina Domingo Faustino Sarmiento decided, officially, to turnaround the country’s wine industry and give Argentinian wine a name for itself. By order of the government Frenchman Michel Aimée Puget brought Malbec, amongst other vines, to Argentina. Devastatingly, when the phylloxera plague hit France in 1863 it caused many vines in southern Rhone to deteriorate, however it was Argentina, Chile, and Cyrus, that managed to be free from the disease. As a result, Argentina has become one of the only countries to have original Malbec vines of true French heritage, and today South America is well and truly regarded as a wine destination, largely thanks to the development and refinement of the Malbec varietal. Currently Argentina is the world’s major producer of Malbec contributing a hefty 75%, with over 75,600 acres of vineyards across the country. France is the next primary producer – followed by Italy, Spain, and South Africa – however with approximately 13,000 acres, it pales in comparison. From fruity, elegant, and floral wines, to black fruit, spicy and complex wines, with its range of expressions coming about from the country’s diverse terroir and quality tannins, Malbec is very much a crowd pleaser.
Restaurants, venues, and wine experts around the world take part in celebrating Malbec wine, with events, tastings, talks, wine offers, food pairings, and more, paying homage to the renowned grape varietal.
Most accessible will be a live Malbec wine chat over Twitter, where 11 bloggers are set to discuss a set of wines (delivered prior to the conversation), led by Christy Canterbury MW. Over the course of an hour Canterbury will dictate when the bloggers should taste which wine, and the tasting notes will be Tweeted, allowing anyone in the world to tune in using the hash tag #MalbecArgentino. The conversation starts before the official World Malbec Day, at 9pm EST April 12 (2am BST April 13).
The events are across the globe, from South America, where the Argentine Embassy in Brazil is hosting a wine tasting with importers, distributors, wine purchasers, owners of restaurants, and sommeliers all taking part on April 25th, to a consumer wine festival in Winnipeg, Canada, which hopes to expand attendees’ knowledge of Argentine wine. In Chicago’s city center the Lakewood is featuring three tasting sessions of three hours each, in addition to eight Argentinean wineries and various other entertainment for its spring wine festival.
The sixth edition of celebrating World Malbec Day at Esplendor Hotel Mendoza will reinforce the city’s ethos, “Malbec, the heart of Argentina”. Mendoza, itself at the heart of Argentina’s wine country, will pay tribute to the famed wine with an event featuring oenologists, sommeliers and journalists and other experts, plus a guided tasting of 15 premium wines with matching local fare.
Asia is set to put on some exciting celebrations, including an invitation-only affair at Grappa’s Cellar in Hong Kong, which will involve a Malbec seminar, Malbec blind tasting judging competition, and a Malbec World Day awards ceremony.
London-based Argentine restaurant Gaucho is hosting a series of events at its various locations across the city. Some bookings are required; however, alternatively, attendees can wander in and enjoy gorgeous Malbec from Gaucho at shop prices on Monday April 17th, the official day for Malbec determined by Wines of Argentina.
Others in London joining in the celebration are Young’s pubs, where Argentinian-inspired menus, Malbec master classes, and tango entertainment, are just a few of the events occurring. Contemporary wine bar Vinoteca (Marylebone; Chiswick; Soho; Farringdon; King’s Cross), will also be serving bottles of Malbec at shop prices on April 17th.
For something a little more structured, Gaucho is hosting some exciting events during “7 days of Malbec”. At the time of writing, the events with places still available include Mendoza – Cool vs Warm Climate; Old School vs New School Wine Dinner; Smokey Beef & Punchy Malbec BBQ; or, for a real immersion, attend A Festival of Malbec, where 75 Malbecs from the Gaucho wine list will be available to taste – the largest of its kind in the UK. Prices range from £25 - £65 per person.
Find more events for World Malbec Day, here.