During the past month I have had the opportunity to taste wonderful Italian wines from the Alto Adige and Chianti but the tasting that most impressed me, certainly in terms elegance and splendor was the Wines of Argentina event for Malbec Day on April 17.
The tasting offered wines from 20 producers as well as gorgeous views of the Charles Engelhard Court in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Oddly enough, two of my former tango teachers were star dancers that evening, Angeles and Michael.
The star of the Wines of Argentina show for me was the Quimera 2009 from Achaval Ferrer. The wine is not 100% Malbec but is a blend of 31% Malbec, 20% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. I am probably a little biased because I know the winemaker, Roberto Cipresso and the first time I tried this wine was with him in Argentina at the winery, tasting from the barrel, using a wine thief. I wrote a very long post about that experience here. Roberto loves blending and this wine is a perfect example of his signature style.
I tried a number of 100% Malbec based wines that evening which I enjoyed, including one from Kaiken and Finca Flichman. Malbec is a great go to wine both at home with a meat dish or to bring to a party. Easy to pronounce and almost always easy to drink, I find it to be a real crowd favorite.
I am not alone apparently. During the press conference at the event, Ambassador José Luis Pérez-Gabilondo, the Consul General of Argentina in New York, said that Argentina was, for the second consecutive year, the 4th largest exporter of wines to the U.S., both in terms of volume (with more than 61 millions of liters) and in terms of value (with exports reaching $297 million).
Income from wine exports increased to $741 million in 2012 with Malbec a key contributor to this overall growth. Argentina has 1300 wineries and is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentina’s signature grape arrived in the country from Cahors in France in 1853 thanks to Michel Aime’ Pouget, an agronomist who was hired by the President to run the Quinta Agronomica de Mendoza.