by Bonnie Noll
Malbec originated in South-West France, where it is commonly called Côt (sounds like “coat”), and historically served as a minor grape used for blending in red Bordeaux blends. Then, other regions of the world, most notably Argentina, discovered Malbec. Today, Malbec is grown throughout the world and offers a great alternative to higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Malbec is typically a medium to full-bodied, dry red wine with plenty of acidities, relatively high tannin and alcohol levels, and smooth chocolatey or smoky finish. Dark, inky purple color profiles and ripe flavors of plums, black cherry, and blackberry can give this wine a decidedly jammy character.
Because Malbec is so fruity and smooth, it often does not need as much oak aging. Affordable Malbec wines may only get 4–6 months in oak whereas, top-shelf Malbec get as much as 18–20 months in oak.
As with every grape, the flavor profile of Malbec will vary with “place”, i.e. where the grapes are grown. For instance, Malbec struggles to maintain acidity in lower elevations but does fabulously in higher elevation spots where there is a large diurnal temperature shift (cold nights and sunny days). So, the impact of terroir, defined as all of the non-manmade influences on the vines and grapes, can never be overlooked. Terroir includes altitude, climate, weather (climate and weather are two different things), degree days, proximity to bodies of water, slope and directional facing of the land, rainfall, drainage, wind, and so on.
It is with this in mind that we will gather for an evening of comparative wine tasting that will reveal the broad spectrum of aromas and tastes that can result among wines made from the Malbec grape variety when grown in a diversity of terroir, and it will also demonstrate the differences between Old World and New World wine styles.
Please join us for an evening of exploring Malbec wines on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm at the Harrisburg Hilton.