Malbec originated and was for a long time cultivated in the southwest of France, but it has since become the most recognisable wine emerging from the South American country of Argentina. Other varieties, from South Africa and Chile amongst others, have proved to hold their own in recent years and as variety Malbec continues to rise in popularity. Malbec World Day took place for the first time on April 17, 2011, and is now recognised across the world as a celebration of the robust red wine. But which to choose?
Richard Bampfield, wine lecturer at Leiths School of Food and Wine, recommends Lidl’s Cimarosa Malbec. It’s only £4.49 but it’s a beautiful red, and interestingly, it’s from Chilli rather than Argentina. He says: “When choosing a Malbec, you should look for the following words on the bottle: gutsy, full-bodied and spicy. It should say that it is good with steak or meat, and the wine should have a good deep colour. As the Argentinian diet is basically steak and red wine, it’s very difficult to go wrong with an Argentinian red from a reputable supplier.”
However, fellow lecturer at Leith’s and co-owner of Good Wine Tours, Vivienne Franks, says: “Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest wineries in Salta, in the north of Argentina. It produces delicious Malbec wines, and I recommend the one sold at Waitrose (currently £13.11) which has a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat in the blend. The wine is rich in texture with flavours of black cherries, pepper and spice and pairs beautifully with or without food! If you are looking for deep ruby coloured, juicy fruity wines with a touch of oak, Malbec is the wine you want!”
But what wines does Belle recommend for today’s celebrations? For a spicier variety, the Luigi Bosca Single Vineyard DOC Malbec (£16.99) is hard to beat. With an intense violet colour and ripe cherry and plum aromas, this is a delicately perfumed wine with elegant sweetness. But if you’re after an agreeable wine for a good price, try Sainsbury’s Morador Malbec (£8.00), part of their Taste The Difference range. Fruity and powerful, this is a good wine to keep for dinner parties and goes especially well with a curry. Or for something a bit different, why not try a Zuccardi Malamado Fortified Malbec (£14.95) which is more of a port than a traditional wine, and at 19.5% should certainly be sipped more slowly!
Finally, for a Fairtrade variety at a reasonable price, we recommend the Co-Op‘s Irresistible Fairtrade Malbec (£6.99). Matured in barrels, this smooth red is bursting with plum, jam and cherry aromas. Proceeds from the wine have helped to improve the lives of people in Argentina by providing safe drinking water and education, so you’re doing good every time you have a sip.
A spokesman from Wines of Argentina told Belle that Malbec World Day is hugely important in the country’s calendar: “Malbec is not just a wine, it is a fruit that generates work, individuality, culture and development. Each bottle is a declaration of what sets Argentina apart. Each bottle speaks of the hands, the dexterity and the soul of our men. This varietal expresses a way of doing things, a way of life; it involves technique, originality and passion.
“The deepest wines are born of the deepest longings of their peoples, those who reside in the heart. Malbec is the heart of our industry and continues to be our global ambassador.”