There seems to be a wine-related celebration of some sort on virtually every day of the year, but World Malbec Day is definitely one of the most keenly observed by wine aficionados. Started in 2011 by Wines of Argentina to celebrate the country’s signature grape variety, it has grown each year (always on the 17th of April); last year there were 120 events held in 100 cities across 60 countries.
Terrazas de los Andes was founded as recently as 1996, but there is a long history of Europeans – especially French and Italians – heading to South America and taking their grape-growing and winemaking expertise with them – and of course their home varieties. Terrazas is a part of well-known drinks group Moët-Hennessy so remains in French hands, and doing well – it was the winner of the Argentine Wine Producer of the Year 2018 Trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Disclosure: sample provided for review, opinions remain my own
Terrazas de los Andes Malbec 2017 (14.0%, RRP €25.70 at independent wine merchants)
There are two important facts about the vines from which this wine was produced:
- High Altitude Vineyards – which is important enough to be stated on the front label just below the grape. There is something of an “arms race” in Argentina to have the highest vineyards. The Mendoza vineyards are just over a kilometre above sea level!
- Old Vines – the age of the plots varies between 20 and 80 years old, giving some concentration to the flavours.
Most Argentinian Malbecs are big, bold, fruity wines that pack an unmistakable punch. This is no lightweight, but the high altitude has definitely given it some elegance and a (relative) lightness to go with the power. Plums dominate the palate, with blackberry and vanilla from ageing in French (80%) and American (20%) oak. There are some fine grained tannins on the finish which give a nice savoury edge. This would actually be better with the ubiquitous steak than many cheaper commercial style Malbecs, and so it’s definitely worth your consideration – whatever you might be eating on the 17th of Aprl!