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Argentina - Malbec + some other stuff, mostly about Malbec

Posted by Ben Hughes on



There are Maladjusted malcontents, malignant malingerers and maloderous maladies like malaria. You can maltreat, malign, maladminister and malproportion or be in a malaise but of all the ‘Mals’ I’ve met and the one I like the most is ‘MALBEC’

Now, I have a long history with Argentina, as I once thought of going there, and so I read an entire brochure about the place and I even went to an Argentinian restaurant.  I mention this, as Argentina, it seems, is very closely associated with the Malbec grape, but alas ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina, for Malbec is actually French or so I’ve been told.  Rumours abound that it’s one of the six grapes that are allowed to go into a Bordeaux, and by ‘rumour’ I mean ‘fact’

From what I gather Malbec is the name of some Hungarian peasant who, for reasons only he knew, apparently randomly decided to bring the grape to France and deposit it here and there like some viniferous litterbug.  This, of course was in the days when people considered falling off the edge of the world as a legitimate insurance claim so take it as you will. 

It has been described as a thin-skinned grape, I would say ‘sensitive’ but hey, we all have our burdens.  It also comes with the accusation of being susceptible to any illness that sticks it’s head into the vineyard so to alleviate this it prefers warm sunny climate and long walks along the beach, but then don’t we all.  So it seems the variety has found a suitable home in the higher altitude and agreeable weather of hot days and cold nights of the Mendoza area in Argentina. We here in Oz, also grow a bit, look to wines from Langhorne Creek, Clare and Margaret River. 


The grape in the New World makes an inky, deep purple wine with plum, brambley rich fruit, anise, peppery and tobacco character with lower acidity while the Old World French style more commonly used in blends and is a lot more subtle and with higher acidity.  In Australia you’ll find wines that give you red plum, cocoa, tobacco and vanilla.


Well I’m off to chuck some snags on me Barbie and enjoy a Malbec while I take in the stunning views that Argentina offers, in their brochure.


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