SYDNEY World Malbec Day 2017

Current releases from Argentina are strikingly different from the wines of just a decade ago. In recent years, Argentina’s top grape-growers and winemakers have sought out cooler, mostly higher-altitude sites and soils more conducive to making fresher, more complex, better-balanced wines. Moreover, since 2013 Argentina has experienced a succession of cool vintages, and this weather trend has further intensified the shift away from porty, high-octane reds with dried-fruit character. The result has been a greater number of outstanding bottlings than ever before.

A Growing Focus on Soils and Terroir
The Uco Valley, located to the south of Luján de Cuyo in Argentina’s dominant Mendoza region, is currently the most exciting wine-producing region in Argentina as this area offers a dizzying range of soils, exposures, altitudes and microclimates. It’s generally cooler than Luján de Cuyo and includes the highest vineyards in the Mendoza region. Particularly wide diurnal shifts in its higher-altitude vineyards bring extra flavor intensity and preserve acidity in the grapes. In recent years Argentina has been introducing a new Indicación Geográfica, or IG, system to highlight locations with special attributes, and it’s no coincidence that many of these new place names are in the Uco Valley.

I also tasted more wines than ever before from Salta, in Argentina’s extreme northwest, more than 800 miles north of Mendoza. The region features Argentina’s highest vineyards (the new Colomé Altura Maximá Malbec is from vines planted more than 10,000 feet above sea level). STEPHEN TANZER, 2016

Like many new world wine producing countries, Argentina has struggled somewhat to produce wines of specific identity. The last decade Argentina has seen significant changes in Argentinian wine. The introduction of a new Indicacion Geografica (IG) system has shifted the focus from more commercial modern wines which at times lacked identity, to a more terroir based system highlighting specific locations with special attributes, producing unique wine. Simultaneously quality conscious producers have increasingly sought out higher altitude sites with limestone soils which imbue wines with greater tension, preserve acidity and saline minerality. A string of cooler vintages has also helped shift the focus from full bodied, high alcohol wines at times lacking acidity to a fresher, more floral style of wines which are more nuanced, complex and balanced.

We are more than happy to celebrate World Malbec Day 2017 with a wonderful line up of producers who are doing serious justice to their plot and grape variety of choice, the humble Malbec.