World Malbec Day

World Malbec Day

The very first record of the Malbec varietal is from its native Cahors in south west France during the Middle Ages. This era was a very interesting time in wine history when most French wine exports were controlled by the prestigious Bordeaux region. Due to this, Malbec was only allowed to be purchased once the Bordeaux vintage had sold out and therefore came to be seen as less desirable. It is because of this tumultuous history that Malbec remained a relatively obscure varietal until it was planted in Argentina in the 1880s. It went on to become one of the most popular and 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.

Malbec is a naturally delicate grape and tends to grow in tight clusters which are very susceptible to disease in cold and wet environments, instead flourishing in warm climates with sunny days and cool nights. Malbec also prefers deep, free-draining soils and dislikes stress from wind exposure.

Due to its history and fickle nature, fruit has commonly been used as a blending tool to impart smooth, supple tannins and fruit richness to a final wine. More recently however, there has been a shift towards producing high-quality single varietal Malbec wines and Malbec dominant blends.

This shift can be seen in Margaret River where winemakers such as Matt Byrne from Evans & Tate and Julian Langworthy from Deep Woods Estate have determined some of the best sites for Malbec to flourish in the region and are producing some of the most highly awarded Malbec wines in the area.

Evans & Tate 2019 Single Vineyard Malbec

This wine is an exquisite expression of single varietal and single-site Malbec from the Carter Road Vineyard in Margaret River, showing a true expression of terroir. Exhibiting the best of Malbec varietal character 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 certainly a unique regional hallmark and his winemaking ethos reflects this – minimalistic and hands-off, showcasing fruit purity and vineyard expression. He 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 along with textural complexity. He praises 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.

Awards: Gold medal and trophy for Best Other Blend or Varietal at the Margaret River Wine Show 2020; gold medal and trophy for Best Other Blend or Varietal at the Wine Show of Western Australia 2020; gold medal at the Margaret River Wine Show 2021; gold medal at the Wine Show of Western Australia 2021; and a gold medal at the Royal Queensland Wine Show 2021.

Deep Woods Estate 2019 Single Vineyard Cabernet Malbec

This highly awarded single vineyard Margaret River wine is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec – a fantastic representation of just how much influence Malbec can impart on a final wine, even in small amounts. James Halliday awarded this wine a gold medal, with a stunning 97 points and said “the malbec adds a backdrop of salty pomegranate, raspberry and rhubarb to the chorus of cassis and exotic spice”.

With fruit sourced from Abbey Vale Vineyard, the 2019 vintage allowed the Malbec fruit to ripen slowly, producing powerful tannins with great structure, which helps to frame this Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend. Winemaker Julian Langworthy said, "Malbec provides a lovely violet lift, an abundance of dark cocoa tannins and some lovely colour.” He also added because Malbec is a great varietal in Margaret River, they are planting more vineyards as they look towards the future of winemaking in this region.

After a long day exploring the beautiful Margaret River region, Julian recommends taking a leaf out of the Argentinian’s book and going with outdoor BBQ meats this autumn for the ultimate food pairing with this wine.

Awards: Gold medal and winner of the Alan Cook MBE Trophy at the Royal Queensland Wine Show 2021; gold medal at the Margaret River Wine Show 2021; gold medals at the Wine Show of Western Australia 2020 and 2021; and 97 points in the Halliday Wine Companion 2022.

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