WINE: Alistair Gibson on World Malbec Day
It feels as ifÂ every week there is yet another day celebrating something '“ from NationalÂ Cheese Fondue Day, to British Pudding Day.Â
Now there are numerous wine days to celebrate grape varieties spread throughout the year.
The oldest of these, and the most successful, is World Malbec Day, which takes place April 17.Â It was originated by the trade body Wines of Argentina, inÂ 2011.Â
Malbec hasÂ its roots in Bordeaux and south west FranceÂ but today it is Argentina which claims the malbec crown.
It has adapted brilliantly, particularly inÂ the region of Mendoza, and also makes a perfect match for the country's famous beef-basedÂ cuisine.
Celebrate with these beauties.
Starting in Argentina,Â Marcelo Pelleriti Malbec 2016 Valle De Uco, Mendoza (Majestic Â£12.99 but Â£9.99 if part of a mix six) is a new name to me but well worth looking out for.
Winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti not onlyÂ makes wine in Argentina but also makes wine in Bordeaux, where he has achieved someÂ notable success.
This is a very approachable malbec with dark plum and bramble-like fruits, someÂ spice,
and a little mocha on the nose, followed by a juicy, ripe dark fruit palate, which is reallyÂ well-balanced by fresh acidity.
This is more elegant than many Argentinian malbecs at this price, and all the better for it.
PerhapsÂ one of Argentina's most famous, indeed iconic, wines is Clos de La Siete.
Clos de La SieteÂ 2014, Mendoza (Waitrose Â£15.75, Ocado Â£15.75, Sainsbury's Â£16) is blend of malbec with some cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and petit verdot.
It's made in a very modern style withÂ rich, dense dark fruits, dark chocolate and some wood spice. This is full-bodied with lush fruitÂ and ripe tannins.Â Try this with the roast beef or some venison.
New Zealand probably doesn'tÂ spring to mind when it comes to malbec but Left Field Malbec 2014, Hawkes BayÂ (NZhouseofwine.co.uk Â£15.49) is proof New Zealand can turn its hand to so much moreÂ than just sauvignon blanc.
It's still very fresh with darkÂ berry fruits, liquorice and spice on the nose, followed by more than a hint of dark chocolate onÂ the palate along with more spice and supple tannins.
Serve this with beefÂ casserole or hard cheese at the end of a meal.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail