Known as Auxerrois in Cahors, Cot in the Loire Valley and Malbec in the rest of the wine regions of the world where it is grown this particular grape variety seems to have undergone a mini renaissance in the last decade, largely fuelled by its success in South America. It was once a staple component of the Bordeaux blend, but never fully recovered from the frosts of 1956 and since then plantings in this region have fallen by seventy five percent.

Chief Characteristics

When grown in the right terrain namely infertile and rugged and ideally with limestone soil it results are a wine that is distinctively dark and dense with earthy gamey aromas and firm structure with blackberry and blackcurrant fruit dominating balanced by spicy leathery notes. The main difference between the Malbec produced in South West France and South America is that the former velvety texture overt dark fruit flavour and spicy, vanilla notes.

Key Regions

It continues to be grown with great results in the South West of France, mainly around Cahors the capital of the Lot department and also making waves in the Languedoc region of Southern France. Moving over to the more hotter climes of South America it is the flagship grape Argentina where it produces deeply coloured wines with generous black fruit characteristics, balanced acidity and smooth tannins and Chile where it is the third most widely planted grape variety and tends to produce firmer more tannic wines than its Argentinean neighbour.

Wine The Facts:

  • Argentina has the largest Malbec acreage in the world.
  • Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1852 by French agronomist Michel Pouget.
  • Malbec has its own “World Day” April 17th.
  • Malbec from Argentina is probably one of the purest of Malbec's of all due to the fact that the vines are planted on ungrafted French rootstock. Most French root stocks across the globe were destroyed by a phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century. However in Chile and Argentina the disease was unable to survive in the soils and so the French rootstocks remained protected.

Grape Representations to try:

Pablo y Walter Malbec

Les Volet Malbec

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