Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Malbec – The Beauty of Immigration
Somewhere between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot you will find the varietal known as Malbec. One of the five grapes used in the blending of French Bordeaux wines, Malbec is known in France by many names, Auxerrois, Cot or Pressac to name a few. Plagued by weather related problems, Malbec in France has slowly faded into obscurity. The grape may have remained a varietal only for blending if not for immigration. Luckily in the mid-19th century, with the help of Frenchman Michel Pouget, a change of scenery altered the fate of Malbec.
Immigrating to Argentina was the prefect move for Malbec. By the end of the 20th century, the mountainous region of Mendoza became the Mecca of premium Malbec wines. High altitude, pure air and intense sunlight allowed for intense ripening, while cool nights allowed the Malbec grapes to retain sufficient acidity. The result is big, rich and deeply flavored wine balanced by rounded and luxurious texture. Unlike its French cousin the new more Argentinean Malbec juice ages well allowing for subtle intricacies to develop with time. Finished wines are sufficiently rich, able to stand up to red meat dishes, but soft enough to work with pork, veal or grilled fish.
Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon President’s Blend Malbec is a fine example of premium Malbec at an affordable price. The wines name refers to Argentinean President Juan Domingo Peron, husband to the beloved Evita. Annually this wine lives up to its big name billing. The 2003 President’s Blend is a deep red wine with purple hues. Rich and opulent this heady wine if full of fruit, the perfect guest for your next barbeque.
Immigration is always a charged debate. People often question what will happen when a forgien species is introduced into a new environment. The answers are of course not simple. However, at times the melding of two cultures can produce glorious results. Sometimes a new experience is all it takes for the ordinary to become extrodinary. Thus I propose a toast to Malbec and all immigrants that felt unwanted, through determination and a refusal to be ignored they eventully became majestic.