On the Road with the Grape Guy

Report from - Celebrating World Malbec Day the Wine Writers Way ... April 17, 2012

30 Apr 2012

It is, or now was, World Malbec Day; a day to celebrate Argentina's signature wine grape.  A number of interested parties assembled at 580 King Street to listen about and taste a number of Argentinean wines ... including many Malbecs.

The seminar opened with fellow wine writer David Lawrason making some remarks he on his most recent trip to Argentina ... these were based on some assumptions he had made before leaving and what information he gathered while he was away:
1) Argetina is all about Malbec ... not true, there are plenty of other wines being made, the big challenge is to market those other grape varieties so that they are not taken as a "Johnny One Note".
2) All Argentina reds are cuddly, soft and smooth ... that perception did not change but there are changes afoot; but still ripe red wines are king.
3) Very little regional difference ... another perception that is changing but slowly, there are very few wines labelled with sub-app instead hanging onto the bigger geographical areas like Mendoza.
4) Argentinean wines represent good value ... this is true and across all prices; for better or worse FuZion set that mark; best values are in the $18-30 range
5) Argentinean whites don't matter ... stylistically its up to you; but there are plenty of whites being made.

Two Argentine principals joined the panel (I did not catch their last names) ... one named Andreas, the other Victor:

Andreas comments ...
The Argentinean wine industry transformed in the 19th Century because of immigration of the Spanish, Italians and Portuguese.   Although much of the wines were drank domestically in the 1990s they (as an industry) needed to compete in the world market ...and because of their strong currency they have been able to invest in modern equipment, so that there are many big modern wineries in Argentina these days; and plenty of foreign investment is coming in: Moet established their first winery outside of France in Argentina.
Argentina is currently the 5th largest producer and 7th in exports ... 80% of the wines are still consumed domestically.
The US, Canada, and Brazil account for 55% of exports (in order).

Victor ... filled in some of the blanks that Andreas left:
More than 70 countries take part in Malbec world day
Mendoza is the #1 region because of the 5 rivers that cross into the region
1/3 of all grapes are currently estate grown - the rest are in the hands of 8000 growers with an average holding of 20 hec

Quick Argentine Facts ...
Growing region is North - South:  26-42 degrees latitude but the real difference is the east-west altitude.
Mendoza is the oldest most historic regions with the oldest vines

Wine Regions to Look out For ...
Lujan... more classical style of wines - the Napa of Arg
Maipu ... more full bodied, riper and less acid
Uco ... important new region, where modern Argentina is happening
San Carlos ... is grouped into the Uco with new and best wines coming
Patagonia ... currently more fruit than grapes but that is changing.

The Wines of Note ... (click here to be linked to the blog for the wine notes)

 

To read about more interesting adventures thru the world of wine check out the On the Road With the Grape Guy blog.

 

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