How to Celebrate World Malbec Day

Try one of these 12 wines for World Malbec Day on April 17

World Malbec Day is April 17.

Malbec is a big deal in Argentina. Its signature grape is as closely tied to Argentina as sauvignon blanc is to New Zealand, or zinfandel to Sonoma. Most wine drinkers love malbec, with its big, almost jammy fruits, silky textures, and firm tannins, it is a perfect match to walk hand in hand with our love of big beef and barbecue in Calgary.

In Argentina, the high elevations and dry conditions of Mendoza seem to let this grape reach its full potential. In other locations it can tend towards greenness, but in the higher altitudes of Argentina’s wine country it becomes floral, spicy, and while it will never be mistaken for subtle, it packs a nuance that is rarely seen in this grape elsewhere.

The Argentineans take malbec rather seriously and it is definitely its most well-known wine export, so few years ago they chose to promote “World Malbec Day” which has been surprisingly well received. Taking place on April 17 (chosen I’m sure to coincide with my birthday), a number of malbec themed events happen all over the world, including Canada.

Perhaps taking time out of your week to celebrate a grape strikes you as a little too weird, but experience leads me to think that in Calgary, we have a good chance of some snow on the ground on April 17, but it should also be relatively warm. So dig out the snow around the barbecue, make some homemade burgers or marinate some steaks, and pour a glass of malbec. Or two…

Norton 2010 Reserve Malbec

Norton 2010 Reserve Malbec

Exceptionally good and at a very fair price, the tannins are well rounded, and a bit of smokiness compliments the fruit. Homemade burgers with cheese and mushrooms call out for wine like this. $19

CUMA 2012 Organic Malbec

CUMA 2012 Organic Malbec

A popular choice for malbec drinkers, it has all the big plum fruit and spice a malbec could want - plus it’s organic. Serve with a roast or if you are prone to charring your burgers slightly on the grill. $14

Enrique Foster NV Sparkling Malbec

Enrique Foster NV Sparkling Malbec

Malbec? Sparkling? Yes is can be done and with some style too. You may not be able to tell it’s made with malbec by looking at it, but all these wonderful floral aromas come through along with a bit of berry fruits. Drink now, on its own or with a little cheese or charcuterie. $16

Punto Final 2011 Reserva Malbec

Punto Final 2011 Reserva Malbec

Black plums and raspberry fruits with the right amount of vanilla bean and spices. A chocolaty finish and some firm tannins should complement homemade bacon cheeseburgers, maybe on a Kaiser bun with some aioli… $18

Zuccardi Q 2011 Malbec

Zuccardi Q 2011 Malbec

I love this malbec, plenty of fruit, good complexity, and just the right amount of intensity for swirling in a big glass while watching steaks sizzle. If steaks aren’t your thing, consider pairing with some great Spolumbo’s sausage. $21

Masi Tupungato 2010 Passo Doble

Masi Tupungato 2010 Passo Doble

No one else that I know of is making malbec blended with corvine – let alone one with slightly dried grapes as in Amarone. Good fruits ranging from inky and black to softer summer berry fruits and a touch of sweet character. Burgers all the way. $17

Recuerdo 2011 Malbec

Recuerdo 2011 Malbec

Slightly brooding fruit and earthy flavours might scare you off, but some savoury spice and a chocolate and jam finish really open it up. Very tasty, and perfect for barbecuing with homemade rubs or sauces. $25

Catena Alamos Malbec

Catena Alamos Malbec

The entry-level tier from the very well known (and regarded) Catena, Alamos has juicy, jammy fruits, easygoing tannins, and no hard edges. At this price buy two for your next big barbecue. $15

Argento 2012 Malbec

Argento 2012 Malbec

Soft and generous fruits with a chocolaty texture softening some beef-friendly tannins. It’s one of those red wines that you want to have on hand over the summer for last minute guests or barbecue invitations. $13

Dona Paula 2011 Estate Malbec

Dona Paula 2011 Estate Malbec

Another classic malbec familiar to fans of the grape. Largish tannins, some intense fruits, and a bit of a floral character. Plenty of jam and cocoa flavours great for just chilling out with a glass of red. $17

Luigi Bosca 2010 Finca Las Nobles

Luigi Bosca 2010 Finca Las Nobles

A field blend of malbec with a little petit verdot, this is a top-shelf bottling. All the rich plum and black fruits you want in malbec with the intense colour and floral character of PV. Wonderful spiciness on the back end call out for top sirloins or something peppery. $60

Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec 3-Pack

Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec 3-Pack

Malbec is all about the terroir, and recently several premium locations for malbec have emerged. Compare and contrast 3 different premium malbec (perhaps with a few friends and a few steaks) and see where your favourites come from. $150

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