Argentina is known for many things from the tango to Lionel Messi, but it is also very well known for its Malbec. Argentinian Malbec isn’t the only red wine the country is known for but it is definitely the most famous. Argentina is the world’s fifth largest producer or wine and if you’re looking to buy Argentinian red wine online, there is plenty to choose from. Before choosing that perfect bottle though, let’s take a look at the history of red wine in Argentina.
Malbec arrived in Argentina in the 1800s. The governor Mendoza at the time, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento hired the French agronomist Miguel Pouget. Pouget was tasked with the job of bringing grapevine cuttings from France to Argentina. Within these vines was the first ever Malbec vine to be planted in Argentina. Once planted it became hugely popular with wine growers because it adapted brilliantly to the terroir of Mendoza.
From around 1885 to around 1920 Malbec spread around the wine growing regions of Argentina and it because the most planed red grape in the whole of the country. Unfortunately, progress slowed when lower quality high yielding wines took over during the 1960s.
Many old and potentially fruitful Malbec vines were uprooted and destroyed and it soon fell out of popularity and so few wine producers were growing it. Strangely though, it was a downfall in Argentinian wine in general that saw Malbec reemerge. Wine had always been the drink of choice in Argentina, due to its cheap price and it was drunk at both lunch and dinner almost every day. Wine consumption began to decrease rapidly though, when beer and soft drinks rose in popularity.
To keep the Argentinian wine industry alive growers began to realise they’d need to produce wines that could be enjoyed overseas and this meant changing their approach to production. The Malbec varietal began to be improved on and enhanced. The Malbec grown and produced in Argentina slowly but surely improved in quality and it was easily marketed as the grape of Argentina.
One of the leading wine pioneers in Argentina is Nicolas Catena Zapata and he paid particular notice to Malbec and its renewed popularity. His independent studies of Malbec and the terroir of the Mendoza Valley allows for high altitude grape growing up in the Uco Valley, and even higher Malbec yields.
You only have to look back twenty years or so to see an Argentina which had fallen completely out of love with its most popular grape varietal. Today though, it is back in pole position as the most planed grape and one of the world’s favourite red wines. If you are looking to buy Argentinian red wine online and are not sure where to start, it makes sense to go with Malbec to begin with. There are other reds worth considering too, such as an Argentinian Bonarda or Cabernet Sauvignon.