‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it’, goes the saying, and Argentina has taken this to heart with the coming Malbec World Day on 17th April which will see a 24-hour celebration of its flagship grape sweeping the globe.
It’s a brilliant idea. In a world awash with days dedicated to anything and everything from books to water by way of maths and even jumping, this is a first for wine, focusing on introducing a single grape variety to as broad a selection of people as possible.
With tastings, seminars and other often off-beat events lined up from New York to London, Stockholm to Sao Paulo, and many other places besides, there will be a whole host of restaurants, bars and merchants joining in on the day, with Malbec from Argentina the star of the show.
Mendoza Vineyard – Photograph by Justin De La Ornellas
Billed as ‘A Wine Revolution’, the most engaging part of these activities go beyond a simple pouring promotion (although, don’t worry, there will be plenty of Malbec flowing).
Take the ‘Crushing Parties’. In an extraordinary operation, wine buffs from around the globe flew to Argentina where local winemakers guided them on how to best pick the grapes. Chilled to almost zero, grapes are then being flown to a whole host of countries and cities, where local grape crushing parties will take place on 17th April. The resultant global cuvee will be blended and bottled in time for next year’s celebration and sold in places like Gaucho Grill. Make your way to Vintage One in Toronto (details here) or Chapel Down in Kent, UK (details here) to participate.
A lot of activity is naturally centered in Mendoza, Malbec’s spiritual home, where members of the press will be covering a heady mix of cocktail parties, tours, seminars, tastings and yes, hot-air balloon rides! Wines of Argentina is even hosting an exclusive auction of old and rare Malbecs.
Of course, the wine loving public can join in too. In the UK alone, merchants such as Majestic and Laithwaites are among many who are offering tastings and special cases of Malbec wines, while restaurants and wine bars such as Jamie’s in The City will be pouring and pairing Malbec with their food. A similar flurry of initiatives are taking place in Scandinavia, Canada, the US and Brazil.
Malbec Vines – Photograph by Will Luo
There’ll be competitions, quizzes, barbecues, plus wines and trips to be won, so keep your eyes open for Malbec-madness taking place near you. To find out more about events local to you, log on to www.malbecworldday.com
There is, of course, a serious side to Malbec World Day. The promotional body Wines of Argentina aims to reach many thousands of consumers in its key markets through the tried and tested route of putting wine in front of the public where it counts. And the date is far from arbitrary, marking not just the end of harvest in Argentina, but also the day in 1853 when a bill was submitted to the authorities in Mendoza paving the way for a new agricultural school which would champion ‘new’ varieties including Malbec. This began the transformation of Argentine wine and paved the way for Malbec’s rise on the world stage today.
Indeed, in many ways Malbec has turned full circle and Malbec World Day aims to celebrate this to the full. Once a popular variety, not least in the high-end vineyards of Bordeaux, Malbec fell into relative obscurity (though still known for the dark wines of Cahors where it is known as Cot), after the phylloxera plague ravaged Europe’s vineyards.
Argentina has rescued this great variety and made it its own, and Malbec World Day sees it coming home.
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