Malbec has been acclaimed by European palates – especially the English and French – who have indulged in this variety since the times of the Roman Empire. Centuries later, this variety found in Argentina the ideal environment, reaching unprecedented levels of quality and producing unique wines of international renown.
Today Argentina is the largest producer of Malbec in the world. And Malbec has become the national star variety, one that is grown all over the country’s wine regions. That is why Wines of Argentina decided to pay tribute to this emblematic variety by establishing Malbec World Day.
April 17 2011 is the date chosen for the celebrations that will become a must within the wine agenda worldwide. The cities of New York, London and Mendoza have been chosen to host the events organized to honor the wine that has lately experienced the greatest international growth. The Big Apple represents the North American market (the main export market for Argentine wines) and the United Kingdom stands as a symbol of the historical expansion of this variety in the European context. And Mendoza is Argentina’s wine capital and the birthplace of Malbec.
Why was April 17 chosen?
Malbec originated in Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, where this variety was cultivated and whose resulting wines bore the name of the region: Cahors. These wines were well appreciated during the times of the Roman Empire and their prestige was consolidated in the Middle Ages, but they gained full recognition in modern times. The conquest of the English market was a crucial step for the success of Cahors wines. This process started with the wedding between the King of England and the Duchess of Aquitaine, which brought the southwest of France under the English rule. Since then, the British market turned its attention to the French wine from that region, and a culture of appreciation of Malbec began to develop in England and around the world. When the phylloxera plague destroyed French viticulture towards the end of the 19th century, the “Cot” fell into oblivion. However, a culture of appreciation of Malbec had already become consolidated.
It was as a result of this that Argentine Malbec developed some time later. It was brought from France to our country by Michel Aimé Pouget (1821-1875), an agronomist who was hired by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento to run the Quinta Agronómica de Mendoza.
After the model of France, this Quinta Normal sought to incorporate new varietals as a way to boost the national wine industry. This initiative was well received by the Governor of Mendoza, Pedro Pascual Segura. On April 17 1853, they submitted a bill to the Provincial Legislature for the foundation of a Quinta Normal and a School of Agriculture. The House of Representatives passed the bill and it became a law on September 6 1853.
Pouget arrived in Mendoza in 1853, at the age of 32, and took charge of the Quinta. He brought plants, seeds and several types of grape varieties from France, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Malbec.
Towards the end of the 19th century, viticulture experienced exponential development in the hands of Italian and French immigrants, and so did Malbec, which adapted quickly to the varied terroirs offered by our geography and produced better wines than it did in its original land. In this way, over the course of time and after a lot of hard work, Malbec began to shape up as Argentina’s flagship variety.
The efforts made by Pouget, Sarmiento and the Quinta Normal of Mendoza played a key role in that process.
In the view of Wines of Argentina, April 17 is a day that represents both the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry and the starting point for the development of Malbec as its flagship variety and international emblem of the country’s viticulture and winemaking.
阿根廷從今年開始，把四月十七日定為馬爾貝克世界日(Malbec World Day)。馬爾貝克(Malbec)是一種葡萄品種，最早源自法國波爾多，後又再移植至法國西南部的卡奧爾 (Cahors)地區。一八五二年，有一位阿根廷著名的政治家邀請了一位法國傑出的農業專家往阿根廷研究發展葡酒業，經過調查研究後，這位阿根廷政治家於一八五三年四月十七日向政府提出一份發展計劃書，拓展葡酒業並積極從法國引進各種上佳葡萄品種到阿根廷，而Malbec便是其中一種。