Published on February 4th, 2020 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Under the Skin of Marvellous Malbec
Wine is the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink, with more than eight in every 10 drinkers opting for vino. And, 38% of us will pick a full-bodied red, such as a Malbec.
If you google ‘Malbec’ you’ll find ‘…is a purple grape variety used in making red wine and is known as one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine.’
Our friends at Lanchester Wines are sharing some more interesting facts to help you really get under the skin of one of the nation’s favourite drinks – the marvellous Malbec.
The Techie Stuff
The typical Malbec has rich, dark fruit flavours and smooth chocolatey finish, with primary flavours of red plum, blackberry, vanilla, sweet tobacco and cocoa. Its full bodied with medium tannins and should be served between 15-20ºC
So, what does ‘Malbec’ mean? While romantics suggest the name comes from a French term designating gossipmongers, historical evidence indicates it comes from the Hungarian surname of a peasant who spread the Malbec grape variety throughout France.
Argentinian Malbec is comparable with the most famous Bordeaux wines in terms of characteristics and pairs wonderfully with game and red meat. The key growing regions are Mendoza and San Juan – the higher the better. Malbec struggles to maintain acidity in lower elevations but does fabulously in higher elevation spots where there is a large diurnal temperature shift (cold nights and sunny days).
Lanchester Wines has this month launched High Side, which is a high altitude, single vineyard Malbec from the Calingasta region west of San Juan in Argentina. Due to the sun exposure, the great thermal amplitude and the height (it is the highest cultivated area with vines in San Juan and one of the highest in Argentina) the grapes are developed with a high concentration of aromas and colour creating deep wines with big body.
The water with which these cultivated valleys are irrigated comes exclusively from the snow thaw of the Andes Mountains, being completely pure waters without any contamination. The climate is desert, with average annual rainfall of 160mm and the region is characterised by having one of the cleanest skies in the world. Wow!
Malbec’s Blind Tasting Tell
Look for a magenta-tinged rim. Malbec wine is a deep purple-red that is nearly opaque, similar to Syrah and Mourvedre. However, Malbec wines will often have a bright magenta rim.
April 17 is Malbec World Day. The date commemorates April 17 1853 when future Argentine president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento commissioned Michel Pouget to bring new grape varieties from France to Argentina.
Malbec is not popular with French winegrowers. In the calcareous and rocky areas of Cahors in France, Malbec thrives on almost unfertile soils and at high altitudes. However, the grapes are prone to rot, often develop downy mildew and have almost no resistance to frost causing most French winemakers to give up on the grape and replace it with Merlot. The landscapes of Argentina and Chile, on the other hand, where it thrives, are matches made in heaven for the Malbec grape.
Malbec has a much higher concentration of the antioxidants, polyphenols and resveratrol, than other varieties – resveratol has the power to regenerate cells and reduce the risk of heart disease. And, the difference is significant. Malbec will typically have twice the antioxidant content of a Cabernet Sauvignon and four times a Merlot. Obviously, drink all wine in moderation.
However, not all Malbec is red. Malbec Rosé is an intense wine with fresh red fruit aromas and a vibrant acidity. Worth looking out for.
For more information on Lanchester Wines’ range of Malbecs, please visit www.lanchesterwines.co.uk
“High Side Malbec: Soft and velvety with an intense hit of ripe blackberries and dark plum on the tongue allied to notes of dark chocolate and a slight touch of black pepper. It also benefits from a long and satisfying finish.”
John Clarke, the Independent