Celebrate World Malbec Day
To celebrate World Malbec Day this year (17 April) we are going to take a deep dive into this delicious varietal.
The History of Malbec
During the Middle Ages French wine exports were controlled by the prestigious Bordeaux region and this meant that Malbec wine could only be purchased once the Bordeaux vintage had sold out.
Due to this tumultuous history, Malbec remained a relatively obscure varietal until it was planted in Argentina in the 1880s and became one of the most well-known wines to be produced in South America. Today, Malbec remains one of Argentina’s most famous wines and the varietal is now planted in over seven countries around the world, including Australia.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the very first record of the Malbec varietal is from over 2000 years ago in the South of France? During the Middle Ages, French Malbec became extremely popular with English royalty and was even rumoured to be the drink of choice at royal weddings!
The Malbec Grape
Malbec loves the sun. Sunshine helps ripen Malbec’s thick skins which have high levels of colour pigment (called anthocyanins). These pigments contribute to the deep, dark colour seen in Malbec wines!
High quality Malbec is almost always grown in regions with a large diurnal temperature change (i.e., sunny days and cool nights) – like Margaret River! This temperature change means that the fruit retains higher acid levels, producing fresher and longer lasting wines. Higher elevation sites can also promote a wide diurnal temperature shift, and this is one of the reasons Argentina produces such incredible, age-worthy Malbec wines.
Fun fact: Malbec wines will often have a bright magenta rim, which can be helpful to determine this varietal when doing a blind tasting!
What does Malbec taste like?
Think bold fruits like red plum, blackberry, dark cherry and raspberry. These fruit characters are often complemented by spices such as vanilla, tobacco and cocoa. High quality expressions are often full bodied with high acidity.
Single Varietal Wines vs Blending Components
Did you know that Malbec has commonly been used as a blending tool to impart smooth, supple tannins and fruit richness to a final wine? Recently there has also been a shift towards producing single varietal Malbec wines and this is particularly the case in Margaret River.
Evans & Tate Senior Winemaker Matt Byrne and Deep Woods Estate Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy have determined some of the best sites for Malbec to flourish and are producing some of the most highly awarded Malbec wines in the region.
Discover what a single varietal Malbec wine tastes like, as well as how Malbec can have a huge influence as a blending component with our two Margaret River wines below.
2022 was an exceptional vintage in Margaret River and pristine Malbec fruit was sourced from the family-run Carter Road Vineyard in the heart of Wilyabrup, producing a wine that is intense yet delicate. This wine shows true expression of terroir, with rich, intense fruit, ripe tannins and a structured and vibrant acidity allowing for lovely perfume and complexity.
Senior Winemaker Matt Byrne believes that the balanced nature of Malbec wines made from the best Margaret River sites are a unique regional hallmark and his winemaking ethos reflects this – minimalistic and hands-off, showcasing fruit purity and vineyard expression. Matt made the decision to mature this wine in larger French oak puncheons, which he says is to "ensure perfume and freshness is retained whilst achieving a silky and refined palate". He describes the resulting wine as “a world-class Malbec wine rarely seen as a straight varietal in Australia, let alone Margaret River".
Relax and unwind with a glass of this wine in front of the fire on these cooler Autumn nights, paired with a warming bowl of braised lamb ragu.
3x Gold Medals
This highly awarded single vineyard Margaret River wine is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Malbec – a fantastic representation of just how much influence Malbec can impart on a final wine, even in small amounts.
Deep Woods Estate Senior Winemaker Andrew Bretherton is a huge Malbec fan himself and said:
"With World Malbec Day approaching and with an abundance of delicious Malbec fruit fresh into the winery, we [the winery team] are celebrating one of the strong suits of Margaret River.
"Malbec is grown widely around the world and has very different personalities depending on where it is grown. Malbec for our Single Vineyard wines are deep in colour, brimming with blue fruits and violets, have supple, juicy tannins and a plushness to the palate. They are joyous wines which complement perfectly the nobility of Margaret River Cabernet."
Andrew recommends taking a leaf out of the Argentinian’s book and going with BBQ meats for the ultimate food and wine pairing.
1x Silver Medal
"At once powerful yet contained with the varieties (percentage split unknown) beautifully matched. While the classy cabernet aromas and flavours come through, they are rendered more savoury by the malbec and oak. The fuller-bodied palate is alive and vibrant, flavours build and the tannins have presence, all textural and ripe. The finish lingers long as will this wine as in at least two decades."
- 96 Points, Halliday Wine Companion 2024
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