Let’s be fair, it isn’t Argentina’s grape. Well it is, but I mean it’s not a native. It was brought over in the 19th century by a French fella, but from then on, bar a couple of hiccups in the last century, it’s become the first word in the name association game: Argentinian red wine = Malbec.
In France it was always used, historically, in the South West as part of Bordeaux blends. You can still get it here and there, but it’s pretty rare. Outside Cahors (the last French bastion of Malbec) it’s seen as just a pain in the arse and less economically viable to grow, and is dwindling in plantings. Enter the Argentinians!
Over in South America, there were a few hiccups, as I was talking about, and they are/were, as ever, to do with political bollocks. Argentina has a rather funny old history in terms of the country’s finances and its political regimes. It’s been bankrupt (or at least defaulted on international debt) a few times on the past 100 years (not always their own fault). It’s also gone from a fledgling republic, to a military state, and now back to a democracy. What does that do for any industry, let alone the wine industry?
Old vine Malbec was pulled up during times of crisis in order to plant more people-friendly local varieties, so the masses had cheap wine to drink with every meal. I get that, but as a wine lover, of course it’s a bit of a shame. Luckily though, the new wave of wine growers in the past 20 or 30 years have replanted in droves, and Malbec is back to stay!
Lucky for most of us, maybe not Ant!
Other posts in #NWTW Week 37
The Pérons, bet they enjoyed a drop or two of Malbec