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Ink black and velvet – the heart of Malbec’s dark beginnings

France is the origin of Malbec and for the last decade Argentina has become the high volume producer of this grape. There is a dramatic difference between the two because Malbec is really sensitive to terroir. The thin-skinned “black grape” is susceptible to rot, frost, and pests so ideal growing conditions are extremely hard to find and subtle differences impact the grape dramatically. Argentina’s Malbecs are plummy and fruit-forward, with a velvety texture. France’s have more structure, firmer tannins, and an inky dark, brooding quality. For centuries, Malbec played an important role in Bordeaux blends but disease problems meant over time its benefits were overlooked in favour of easier grapes. However, Malbec took a firm hold further up the Garonne...

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