Alistair Gibson heads to South America to celebrate World Malbec Day

Ben Marco Malbec 2013
Ben Marco Malbec 2013
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Apparently last Monday was Cheese Fondue Day.

It never ceases to amaze me who thinks these things up and then decides when they should be.

Vinalba Malbec Reservado 2013

Vinalba Malbec Reservado 2013

However, if the truth be known I do have a sneaky admiration for International Talk Like a Pirate Day which, if you want to know, is September 19 every year.

Wine of course has joined the party as well and there are now ‘official’ days for virtually every grape variety and style of wine you can think of. But the most successful of all these is World Malbec Day, which as it happens, is tomorrow.

Originated in 2011 by the trade body Wines of Argentina, as the title suggests it celebrates everything malbec and indeed Argentinian food and lifestyle. There are now numerous events almost on a worldwide scale.

Originally malbec had it roots in Bordeaux and south-west France but today it is Argentina which claims the malbec crown.

Clos de La Siete 2013

Clos de La Siete 2013

It has adapted brilliantly, particularly in the region of Mendoza, and also makes a perfect match for the country’s famous beef-based cuisine. So, as you tuck into your Sunday roast beef on World Malbec Day here are a few wines to accompany it.

Majestic is really joining the celebration with some special offers running until April 18. Viñalba Malbec Reservado 2013, Mendoza (Majestic £10.99 or £7.99 as part of a mixed six) is a really good introduction and at the offer price you should buy the odd case or two for the summer barbecue season.

Viñalba is a family-owned wine business, established by Herve Fabre, who, having originated in Bordeaux, arrived in Argentina in the early 1990s and saw the true potential for malbec.

Aged in French oak, this has plenty of ripe dark fruits, some spices, mocha and maybe a little tobacco.It’s full-bodied with ripe tannins and a long juicy finish.

Ben Marco Malbec 2013 Dominio del Plata, Mendoza (Majestic £14.99 or £9.99 as part of a mixed six) is a bit of a step up and a wine that won a trophy at the last Argentina Wine Awards.

From the cooler Vista Flores area, the grapes are hand-harvested and the wine is aged for 11 months in older French oak barrels.

This is more perfumed and floral than the Viñalba with notes of violets as well as black fruits, some coffee and hillside herbs. The palate is very focused with pure fruits and silky tannins. This is very fine indeed and deserves a good steak or some hard, aged cheese.

Perhaps one of Argentina’s most famous wines is Clos de La Siete, mainly due to the fact that it is made with input from famed French wine consultant Michel Rolland.

Clos de La Siete 2013, Mendoza (Waitrose £15.75, Sainsbury’s £15) is a blend of malbec with some cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and petit verdot.

It’s made in a modern style with rich, dense dark fruits, dark chocolate and wood spices.

This is full-bodied with lush fruit and ripe tannins. Try it with the roast beef or venison.

Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Edmsworth: 01243 431002.