Happy World Malbec Day!
Always celebrated on April 17th, World Malbec Day was established in 2011. The first agricultural school in Argentina was founded on April 17, 1853, in the hopes of adapting French grapes to the soils of Mendoza. This date symbolizes putting Argentina on the world’s wine map. Malbec, Aregentina’s flagship grape originated in France, but was soon found to thrive in Argentina’s terroir even better than France’s.
Malbec originated in southwestern France (the Sud-Ouest), where it is called "Côt”. It is a minor blending grape in many Right Bank Bordeauxs and grows beautifully in Cahors. Today, over 75% of all Malbec grapes are grown in Argentina, and can also be found successfully growing in California, Washington, Oregon, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.
Malbec produces a deep, inky, purplish hue and juicy, dark fruit flavors such as black cherry, plum, raspberry, blackberry, pomegranate, and even blueberry with a sometimes smoky, rustic finish. It is a medium in its acidity and has robust tannins, and can offer secondary flavors such as coffee, chocolate, mocha, tobacco, leather, and even a note of black pepper.
One of the reasons Malbec is so popular and well received is that it is incredibly food friendly. Malbec’s firm structure combined with moderate alcohol content allows it to shine alongside meat of all sorts, in particular leaner cuts made with herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary, paprika, cumin, coriander, black pepper, garlic, green onions, and barbecue sauce. Cheeses such as sharp cheddar, manchego, or stilton are ideal, and you can’t go wrong with dark chocolate covered dried fruits to truly bring out the deep fruit notes of the grape.
In all honesty, I had no intention of sourcing a Malbec for the Sail to Trail portfolio. As our first vintage of Zinfandel was selling out and needed to be replaced, one of our California vineyards sent me a sample of a finished Malbec alongside the new vintage of Zinfandel. One sip of the Malbec and I knew it needed to boast the Sail to Trail label. It is fruity, earthy, food friendly and a stand-alone sipper, exhibits medium acidity and robust tannins, resulting in a beautifully balanced wine. Although technically dry, it appeals to dry and sweet white wine lovers alike. The Sail to Trail WineWorks Malbec has quickly become one of our most popular wines and greatest sellers. At $20 a bottle retail, it is the epitome of value, as it drinks much more expensive than its pricetag.
Not a huge fan of red wines? No problem! Sail to Trail’s Malbec is the perfect base wine for red sangria! I enjoy adding in equal parts of raspberry and pomegranate vodkas, a splash of Sprite or lemon/lime soda, and a variety of fruits. This creates a fabulously refreshing, fruity cocktail that all will enjoy.