When I began to learn about Argentinean wines it did not take me long to discover that the grape varietal for which Argentina is most renowned is the Malbec. Educating myself on wine in Argentina, it was hard to read much about the country’s wine production without seeing the word ‘Malbec’ pop up constantly, or attend a wine tasting in Argentina without being exposed to a Malbec wine. Given the clear predominance of the Malbec in Argentina, I wondered what was special out the grape. Why was the grape so specific to Argentina and what made Malbec wines stand out and achieve so much international recognition and popularity?
In trying to build a stronger understanding of the grape’s significance, I first discovered that Malbecs are able to grow in a wide variety of environments, though the climate in which it is grown can have a distinct impact on its characteristics. For instance, a Malbec grown in lower altitudes with warmer climates will tend to have thinner skins and produce a lighter-bodied wine. Grown in cooler climates at higher altitudes, however, the Malbec will tend to have thicker skins, and produce a more robust wine with a higher acidity and a greater tannin content. Given the fact that most Malbecs in Argentina are grown in the cool climate of the high-altitude Mendoza region, an arguably ideal condition for the grape, the Argentine Malbec has qualities distinct from Malbecs grown in other regions.
So, due to its unique characteristics granted by the ideal climate of Mendoza, the Malbec grape has brought Argentine wines international popularity and is a popular favorite at wine tastings in Buenos Aires and throughout the country.