Monday, April 17, 2023

It's World Malbec Day - April 23, 2023 - time to crack a bottle of Malbec!

Today - Monday April 23, 2023 - is World Malbec Day - an annual occasion to enjoy a great grape that is grown in many places globally but is best known in France and Argentina for their remarkable successes in the bottle! 

Here in British Columbia, you can easily celebrate World Malbec Day - or Malbec World Day - with a quick trip to the liquor store for almost any priced Malbec - from a cheap and cheerful everyday bottle to a collectible wine that will last a decade or more!  And there are even a few rare, delicious BC Malbecs produced here - but a bit harder to find.

If you love or want to explore Malbecs, the Vancouver International Wine Festival running from April 22 to 30, 2023 - is where you will find 27 Argentina wineries participating - and loads of Malbecs, including two noted below - from Catena Zapata and Domaine Bousquet!  But hurry - many events are already sold out - go to the VIWF website to get tickets today!  

Malbec is best known as a grape used in Bordeaux blends but it is also found in 100% concentration in the Cahors region of southwest France and has found a new and exciting home in Argentina, especially the Mendoza district.   
And there are also some fabulous Malbec-based blends, where it stars but shares the stage with other grapes, just as it plays a supporting actor role in Bordeaux wines.

The Wine Barbarian has a few quick picks for you - and don't limit yourself to April 17th only - Malbec is a great year round wine that pairs well with everything from grilled meats on the BBQ to stews and casseroles.

Here are a few personal choices but the options are nearly endless: 

Here are three excellent choices, all available at your BC Government Liquor Stores, from left:  Clos de los Siete 2019 by Michel Rolland from the Mendoza region of Argentina - $25.49 on sale till April 29, regular $29.99; La Lande Cavagnac 2017 from Domaine de Cause in the Cahors region of France - $35.99; and Las Acequias Malbec Oak 2017 from Mendoza, Argentina - $22.99 on sale till April 29, regular $24.99.  All three is very to reasonably available - check the BC LDB website to find a store near you. 

I am a huge fan of the Clos de los Siete - last year's 2018 vintage was picked for the Wine Spectator's famed Top 100 Wines of 2022 and the 2019, like the 2018, is scored at 90 points out of 100!  And Robert Parker scores it at 91+ points.  It's got 50% Malbec, 24% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot in the blend.  Drink now through 2032. 

You can cherry and plum fruit, coffee bean, graphite, fresh tobacco and pepper on the finish!

The La Lande Cavagnac is new to me and comes from Domaine de Cause.  The Wine Enthusiast scores it 92 points and finds it full of ripe berry flavours and good tannins.  Drinkable now. 

The Las Acequias is also an old favourite - it is such a treat to be able to buy and drink a 2017 vintage when many wineries are only offering 2020 and 2021 vintages - most of which are not really ready to open.  But this Malbec certainly is - Vancouver Sun wine critic Anthony Gismondi scores it 91 points, calling it lavish with plenty of black fruit and dense, slippery tannins. 

You really can't go wrong with any of these three Malbecs, but here are a few more picks that are fairly easily found: 

Catena Malbec 2019 - the ever reliable standard bearer for many wine drinkers and restaurant wine lists alike - at $26.99 you can count on quality. And Robert Parker scores it at 92 points, noting red berries, violets and freshness.

The Domaine Bousquet Malbec 2021 is another vintage after vintage reliable value wine - now on sale till April 29 at $16.99, regular price $17.99.  And with a 90 point review from the Wine Spectator, you simply can't go wrong! 

And another longtime favourite is the Vina Cobos Felino Malbec  - now in the 2021 vintage and on sale for $20.99 till April 29, regularly at $24.99. The Wine Spectator rates this 89 points - great value! 

So please buy and drink a lovely Malbec today - and remember this great wine for many other occasions throughout the year! 

Cheers and I hope to see you at VIWF!


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