This Sunday, Argentina will lead the wine world to celebrate one of the most beloved and successful grapes of the Southern hemisphere: Malbec.
World Malbec Day, sponsored by Wines of Argentina, is celebrated in over 60 countries around the world. Wines of Argentina chose the date that marks one of the most important milestones in its industry.
April 17, 1853 was the day Domingo Sarmiento, future President of Argentina, introduced a bill to create La Escuela de Agricultura and La Quinta Normal, an academy for the study of grapes to improve the quality of national wine production.
At the same time, the government of Argentina hired the French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget to develop the wine industry in Argentina. Pouget would be the person who introduced different grapes to Mendoza, including Malbec.
From the beginning, Malbec adapted extremely well to the soil and the terroir of Argentina. At first, the winemakers used it more as a blending grape, but the potential was there to put it front and center to make unique, refined wines.
Wines of Argentina states that Malbec is essentially "the paradigm of Argentine wine, our flagship variety. Thanks to Malbec, we have begun an adventure of discovering the potential of our wine industry."
Nora Favelukes, the US market representative for Wines of Argentina, explained that Malbec represents one of the first times a single grape was identified with a country like never before. "Talking about Malbec is to talk about Argentina, the personality and its terroir," she said.
More that 80 percent of the wine that Argentina produces is consume internally. Craig Mauro owner of Raya Imports, which specializes in Argentine wines, explains that the first time he tried Malbec "I could see the power of the grape."
He was living in Buenos Aires working as a journalist when he was introduced to Malbecs. It changed his life. After that, he decided to import more Malbec to the USA market. "It is one of the most outstanding wines for the price," he said. "I can grab any $10 bottle and know it will over deliver."
And the future continues to be bright for the Argentina wine industry. Favelukes adds that the pride associated with Malbec and Argentine identity inspires winemakers to do their best. "There are many wine makers that have decided to follow their passion and start doing their own wines, which brings so much creativity and amazing results."