April 17 –The Consulate General & Trade Promotion Centre of Argentina in Mumbai celebrated the sixth edition of World Malbec Day at the Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel, along with 64 cities and 50 countries around the world, together paying tribute to Argentina’s flagship grape variety – Malbec. This annual celebration continues to strengthen Argentina’s signature grape, Malbec Argentino, as a unique reference for Argentina and the world. Suneeta Sodhi Kanga reports…
Argentum – the root of all Argentina. The Silver place, the Silver land…..entirely true until you try the Malbec Wines. Then it turns into Gold!
Malbec, has today come to epitomize all Argentinean culture but of course, lives up to its roots of the grape that journeyed from France but now calls Argentina home, and is very firmly rooted here for its identification and is now considered a classic.
A classic varietal is one that is enjoyed again and again, through which new expressions of terroir and new layers of aromas and flavours are discovered. A classic wine is one that is appreciated by those who try it for the first time and those who drink it regularly.
A classic gives so much pleasure that it invites us to explore deeper. A classic becomes a model and an influence. Malbec has become the paradigm of Argentine wine, as their flagship classic variety.
Every year, on April 17th, the world commemorates the day when President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina transformed Argentina’s wine industry. This year, the Consulate hosted the event on April 12th to include a farewell for their outgoing Consul General, H.E. Tomas Ferrari.
The soiree included a tasting and information tour about Argentine Malbec and its origins by the Sommelier of the Taj, Mr. Abhas Saxena. Guests were briefed about the wonderful journey through which the Malbec varietal of grapes went through to reach its current avatar.
Guests included distinguished members of the Diplomatic community in Mumbai, including the Consul Generals from Spain, Poland, Ecuador and Australia, and the Consulate’s personal friends and business associates from various industries.
How it all began
World Malbec Day is celebrated to commemorate the day when President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina officially made it his mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the great international importance which it has had, and this would not have been possible without the invaluable support of the global community.
Since its first edition, on April 17, 2011, this global tribute to the Malbec variety of wines has witnessed an ever-increasing participation from various countries across the globe. In the 2015 edition, more than 60 countries including, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Greece, Guyana, Holland, Hungary, India, England, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vietnam, played a key role in the impact which Malbec World Day had on the international media. A clear signal that Argentina is making its mark on the world wine market.
April 17 – the reason for the chosen date
The origin of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France. Here they have been cultivating this grape and making wines with the appellation of “Cahors “since the days of the Roman Empire. These wines began to establish themselves during the Middle Ages and have become stronger and stronger in modern times.
The conquest of the English market was a crucial step in the evaluation of this strain in England and the world. By the late nineteenth century, the phylloxera plague had destroyed many of the French vineyards, so the “Cot” was forgotten, leaving, however, a culture of appreciation for Malbec.
Sometime later, Malbec Argentino appeared. This strain arrived in Argentina in 1853 from the hands of Michel Aimé Pouget (1821-1875 ), a French agronomist that Domingo Faustino Sarmiento hired to carry out the direction of the Agricultural Quinta de Mendoza.
Modelled on France, the initiative proposed adding new grape varieties as a means to enhancing the national wine industry. On April 17, 1853, with the support of the governor of Mendoza, Pedro Pascual Segura, a project was presented to the Provincial Legislature, with a view to establishing a Quinta Normal and Agricultural School. The project was approved by the House of Representatives on 6 September that year.
In the late 19th century with the help of Italian and French immigrants, the wine industry grew exponentially and with it, Malbec, which quickly adapted to the various different terroirs, and developed with even better results than in its region of origin. Thus, over time and with a lot of hard work, it emerged as the flagship grape of Argentina.
April 17th is, for Wines of Argentina, not only a symbol of the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry, but also the starting point for the development of this strain, an emblem of their country worldwide.