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Argentina Wineries Introducing Malbec Wines To World

Jun 2, 2008
Five years ago, the term 'Malbec' was most exclusively known among sommeliers and world exporters. Today, this niche grape is on store shelves and tabletops around the world making a name for itself as one of the most popular wines in the market. The Malbec is not only Argentina's most popular wine, but is turning into a world favorite. What started out as a country concerned mostly with the production of lower quality tabletop wines has turned into the world's fifth largest wine producer, with exports of extraordinary quality earning praise and finding their way around the world.

Because the grape grows in specific climates, requiring considerably more sunshine and heat than other red varieties, Argentina's Mendoza region (http://www.worldwidewinetours.com/SAM/argentina/mendoza-wines.html) is the prefect natural home for this popular grape. Planted in other regions around the world including a few thousand hectares in Chile and in France, Argentina outweighs them all with nearly 30,000 hectares of Malbec in Mendoza alone. This makes the Malbec, Argentina's premiere wine for export as well as its most exclusive grower. The grape has found its success as a result of the climate offered by the Argentine side of the Andes. Mendoza receives epic proportions of sunshine each year with dry and arid climates perfect for cultivating wine. In addition to the weather, Argentine wineries plant the grape at varying altitudes to increase the thickness of the skin, enhancing the wine's flavor and naturally improving its quality. The quality of the grapes are thus, partly due to the abundance and health of the region in which it grows, making the Malbec a testament to the richness of Argentina's wine regions. It's a factor, unfortunately for the rest of the world, and fortunately for Argentina, that cannot be replicated. Mendoza simply is a region of the world that fosters a perfect growing environment for the grape.

High quality wines for Argentina, have become a relatively new focus. The region initially produced mostly tabletop wines used for local consumption. These wines were rarely given the extraordinary care Reserve Malbecs are given today, and were generally only so-so. It wasn't until the economy began to slip with the devaluation of the peso, that European influences and other foreign funding began to arrive, that quality standards began to rise. With the influence of wine technology and a new focus geared toward quality, the standards of wine in Argentina began to change. As a result of this change in quality standards the Malbec emerged. Coincidentally, Argentina's weakened currency means that this incredible grape can continue to be produced at low costs. Thus, the quality of the grape, naturally enhanced by the region in which it grows, is met with a process of scrupulous cleaning, afforded by the fact that wine can be produced so cheaply. Because of this, extra time and effort is put into the process most Malbecs in Argentina undergo, fostering excellent quality. For most wineries in Mendoza, the stems and seeds are hand picked out of the wine before it is further produced. Because the seeds and stems are what cause the wine to become bitter, Malbecs, and other Argentine wines, are less so, because of this extra step. As a result, even very cheap wines are met with surprisingly high quality. This factor, for budget travelers and wine experts is incredibly refreshing, finding wine in Argentina that is made with incredible care and still not overly priced.

However, just because a wine is good doesn't mean it's going to make the splash the Malbec is making on foreign markets. So how is it that the Malbec suddenly has become so popular? Because the Malbec was initially a French grape, it wasn't a new discovery, but was in some ways it was laying in wait. Argentina's crashing economy, met with foreign investments and wine interests, boosted growth for a grape that wasn't being mass-produced. This on top of the affordability of the wine, made exporting from Argentina an excellent investment. To boost interest in these new investments a push was focused on marketing the new grape, ultimately increasing interest. It was this mass production of the Malbec, and then the push in export from investments that the Malbec from Argentina began making its way onto store counters and restaurants. It was the quality however, fostered by the region the grape is grown and the process it undergoes that gave it its popularity. It seemed, that out of nowhere a new grape was in the market; one that was both affordable and delicious. This is the reputation the Malbec has earned for itself and it is what continues to make it so incredibly popular.
About the Author
More and more people are taking wine vacations. If Argentina is your wine tour destination, then it's advisable to study up on Malbecs -- the country's crown jewel. Jim Hunter is a freelance wine writer who writes about Malbecs and Argentina wines on WorldWideWineTours.
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