Argentina: Malbec Finds a New Homeland (Video)

Malbec, a wine grape from France, would never have gotten a great reputation without the help of Argentina. Argentina started cultivating malbec in the 1860s and still has ancient vines in the region because Argentina is phyloxxera free (a nasty root louse that ravaged Europe and the US). Find out what makes malbec and the Argentina wine market the fastest growing winemaking region and why these wines will be collector items in a few short years.

Argentina: Home of Malbec

Argentina wine with Madeline (Part 1)

Argentina wine with Madeline (Part 2)

3 Tiers of Malbec

$10-$20 Argentina Malbec

Introductory wines of the region. These wines have the basic varietal characteristics of a lush soft wine with dark berry fruit. Described often as tasting of blueberries, vanilla and sometimes tar & smoke, the taste of value-driven malbecs is affected mostly by the winemaker’s style.
Lush, Vanilla and Fruit Forward

$20-30 Argentina Malbec

This is the sweet spot. Most producers make a reserva of some sort in this range which usually involves longer and newer oak aging (thus the expense) and these wines are big yet well-balanced. Watch for out-of-control alcohol levels in the high 14% range as these wines tend to be overly sweet and will almost guarantee a headache (if you drink like I do).

wine-malbec-argentina-madeline-puckette
Malbec exploded in Argentina in the 1990s.

$50-70 Argentina Malbec

These are the flagship wines from the best producers. Typically you’ll see more high-end malbecs used in blends with cabernet sauvignon for remarkable complexity.

hairpin turns in the andes mountains on the road to Mendoza, Argentina
The climb was long and rugged for success of malbec in Argentina. This image is from the Chilean side of the Mendoza-Santiago Road. Adapted from travelingcanucks.com

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About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly