What’s the Deal with Malbec?


This post is by Fredric Koeppel from Bigger Than Your Head


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It’s tough to be a grape. You grow well and make distinctive wines in one climate and soil but perform dismally in a different climate and soil. You’re susceptible to all manner of diseases and attract all sort of pests. Frost and hail bring you to your knees. You accumulate numerous aliases from region to region, so eventually people don’t know who the hell you are. And they constantly compare you to other “better,” “more noble” grapes. You even disappear, as happened to malbec — our actual subject — when the severe frost of 1956 pretty much eradicated the grape from the vineyards of Bordeaux. What’s interesting is that some producers in California still consider malbec to be one of the five “classic” varieties of Bordeaux red wine, along with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot; occasionally one still finds a red “meritage” blend that encompasses all five …

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