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The Malbec Grape

Malbec was originally associated with south-west France but today has found a better home in South America, especially Argentina.

It was the most commonly planted vine throughout south-west France until a severe winter of 1956 killed many of the vines and more glamorous alternatives were replanted. It is in Cahors that it is best known, often under the name Auxerrois or Côt. (It is also known in the Loire Valley as Côt.)

The Malbec produced in Cahors is worlds apart from that produced in its modern home, Argentina. In the 1980s Argentina's vineyards were predominantly planted with Malbec and the Argentine wine industry was rather actually started pulling it out in favour of more fashionable grapes at the time, such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

Malbec adapted so spectacularly to local conditions in Argentina that foreign visitors to the winelands convinced the Argentine wine industry that Malbec was the jewel in its crown. This was unfortunately not in time to stop so many vines being pulled out.

Good Argentine Malbec is deeply coloured, spicily rich with an exuberant juiciness and has as a trademark an almost velvety texture. Some Malbecs are made for long ageing but generally the wines have much softer tannins than Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon, for example. With its high levels of alcohol and fruit, Argentine Malbec is not difficult to like.

Click here to view our range of Malbec wines >


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