Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Malbec - Grapes and Wines from Australia


Malbec grapes are purple in colour and are used to make red wine. It is grown in many countries across the world. It can be found in Chile, France, Brazil, Madeira, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, USA and Argentina. Argentina has the largest land area under this grape variety in the world, grown in over 76,700 acres which are roughly 75%, mainly in San Juan, Mendoza and Salta. France has the second highest acreage under it, with 15,000 acres.

Malbec requires plenty of heat and sunlight to grow. This is more than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It grows in soil that allows water to percolate down but may rot during cold conditions or in standing water. Australian Malbec wines are made from grapes grown in Frankland River, Kangaroo Island, Clare Valley and Margaret River regions.

Feel of the wine
Malbec wines of Australia present significant aromas of plum, cherry, chocolate, coffee, raisins, raspberry and leather. The noticeable flavours are of cherry, plum, balsamic, dried fruit and chocolate. Vanilla flavours and aromas are released during ageing of the wine in oak.

Popular names
Malbec is known by different name in different regions. In Bordeaux, it goes by the name of Pressac or Côt. French Cahors and Alsace region call it by Auxerrois. In Argentina, it is referred as Fer. In Portugal, it is known by Tinta Amarela and in Australia, it is called as Portugal Malbec.

Malbec in Australia
Malbec cultivation began in the 19th century in Australia. At Liverpool, the Grodno vineyard can be attributed to the first instance of Malbec planting in Australia in 1901. Things changed during the second half of 20th century when many acres of vines had to be uprooted due to poor yield caused by frost and spreading of the fungus to the leaves. The areas under Malbec vines shrank mainly because people began growing other grape-varieties in place of Malbec as a safer option. By 2000, it was close to 1,235 acres in Australia, with Clare Valley in South Australia having the highest share.

It is celebrated on April 17 worldwide in remembrance of the day in Argentina history when president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento declared to change its wine industry.

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