While yesterday was Malbec World Day, the entire month of April is #MalbecMonth, so you still have plenty of time to enjoy a Malbec from Argentina.
Why April? Malbec from Argentina is celebrated on April 17 because that is the day in 1853 when Argentina’s wine industry transformed by the invitation of French soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget who showed how to adapt French varietals, including Malbec, to Argentina. Malbec World Day was created by Wines of Argentina “to position Argentine Malbec as one of the most prominent in the world. Every April 17th, and throughout the whole month, different activities are carried out in the main cities around the globe to celebrate the success of our flagship grape.”
Five fun facts about MALBEC in Argentina:
37.53% of the red wine grapes planted in Argentina are Malbec
21.40% of the total cultivated area in the country is Malbec.
163% increase in plantings of Malbec since 2000 (equivalent to 26,653 ha / 65,862 acres)
85% of Argentinean Malbec is grown in Mendoza
leader in volume, quality and exports of Malbec since 2011.
In anticipation of Malbec Day Weds. April 17, Annie AnyDay, Ima Zinner, ChamPan, and I gathered on my sunny deck to taste four 2011 Malbecs: 2011 Trivento Reserve, 2011 Ruta 22, 2011 Conquista, all from Argentina, and from Chile, Concha y Toro’s 2011 Casillero del Diablo. (Reviews below).
As Malbec and Malbec blends now account for almost half of the entire Argentinean wine category in the U.S., you’d think my first Malbec crush would be one from South America.
But the first Malbec that made a memorable impression and wowed my palate was actually a barrel sample from Basel Cellars that I tasted while on a visit there during the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla Washington.
I remember clearly the lush blueberry that flooded my palate, and even now, I desire to repeat that experience. The following year when I re-visited Walla Walla, I found myself driving by the impressive gates of the even more impressive Basel Cellars estate, but unfortunately the tasting room was closed…and we were on our way to Oregon so I have yet to taste this Malbec in the bottle (and, btw, Steven Tanzer awarded 89 Points to the 2008 Chelle Den Millie Malbec which retails for $32).
Malbec grapes on the vine in the Cafayate wine region of Argentina. This pic also demonstrates the trellising vine training used with drip irrigation system running along the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the folks at Creative Palate, in the 1860s, Malbec was brought from France to the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina where the constant sun and heat helps the grape to achieve optimal ripeness; Malbec thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza creating a typically ripe and lush wine with smooth tannins.
Malbec has also found suitable terroir on the other side of the Andes in the consistently hot and dry Rapel Valley of Chile.
Please join me in raising a collective glass to toast this newly “discovered,” newly beloved versatile and delightful varietal–regardless of where it comes from North or South America! Follow along with the fun on twitter by searching and tweeting using #MalbecMadness! Continue reading →
While I am not packing my bags and brushing up my Spanish for my trip to Chile (at least not this time!), I was excited to open my box of goodies from the Foods from Chile folks.
Enclosed, packed in a Foods From Chile muslin bag, I found these products made from Chilean foods: a bottle of 100% pure blueberry juice, a jar of onion jam in merlot wine, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a can of mussels in oil.
That same day I also received three bottles of Malbec for Malbec Madness April 17–two from Argentina, and this 2011 Casillero del Diablo from Concha y Toro in Chile!
In addition, I’m looking forward to tasting two more wines from Chile that are on their way: new releases from Viña Ventisquero, a leading producer of estate and single vineyard wines–Queulat Sauvignon Blanc and Queulat Pinot Noir.
“Congratulations! You’re a Finalist!” said the email.
All I have to do now is convince YOU to choose me, Gwendolyn Alley, the Wine Predator, as the one lucky writer to go on a Guided Culinary Tour of Chile!
Please choose me as the winning blogger who takes tours and participates in tastings at vineyards, olive groves, and fruit plantations. Who better than a wine blogger to wax eloquently about wine and food?
Please choose me to meet with local Chilean exporters and producers, and to eat specially prepared meals at the restaurants of local Chilean chefs. I love all kinds of seafood and shellfish, I love game, beef, fowl, pork, vegetables and fruits! My Wine Predator and Art Predator blogs and my twitter and facebook feeds are full of photos of fine food and wine that I share with my followers and friends.
Please choose me to visit the Mercado Central in Santiago, one of the world’s
top food markets, to see cultural heritage sites in Santiago, and to attend the Nam Santiago Food Festival where I will taste of the culinary innovations of Chile.
I, Gwendolyn Alley, Wine Predator, am the right blogger to write about the food AND the wine of Chile!”
So that’s the script I chose to produce for the video above instead of this one with seven reasons why Foods from Chile should choose me. And sometime in the next 24 hours I will find out whether my video submission and this blog post convinced the powers that be to send me to Chile as the one lucky writer who will go on a Guided Culinary Tour of Chile with members of top media publications from April 7th to April 13th 2013 –flight, transportation, and accommodations all included!
Yes, as you can imagine every few minutes I am obsessively checking my email just in case they decide to pick me and let me know early!
Regardless of whether I win the contest and get to go to Chile in April or not, we had a great time shooting the video–as you can see from the video I submitted as well as the out-takes video below! Continue reading →
Today my video submission for the Foods for Chile contest to travel to Chile is due! Above is a video Jo Diaz did of me exploring Portugal during our trip sponsored by Enoforum Wines. That trip made me realize that travel, food, and wine is more than a passion, but a true vocation. Working on my video submission reminded me of how much I want to travel and taste the pleasures of the world and share them with my readers. Continue reading →
said the Foods from Chile folks in today’s email that arrived at lunchtime.
“Just one more step & you could be on your way to taking a foodie dream-trip of a lifetime with Foods From Chile!”
Yes, really! One lucky writer will go on a Guided Culinary Tour of Chile with members of top media publications from April 7th – April 13th 2013 with flight, transportation, and accommodations all included!
The winner will visit a number of different areas in Chile known for their wines, olive oils, and fruits (for example, the Atacama, Coquimbo and Valparaíso regions), experiencing tours and tastings at vineyards, olive groves, and fruit plantations. The group will meet with local exporters and producers, and eat specially prepared meals at the restaurants of local Chilean chefs. Continue reading →