Today, April 17th, is officially Malbec World Day, marking the date in 1853 when President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento established the foundation for Argentina’s wine industry by designating a French agricultural expert to import new vines from Europe. Among the varietals imported was Malbec which, a decade later, nearly disappeared in France after a Phylloxera aphid outbreak.
|Argentina's 19th-century president, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, gets the ultimate credit for Malbec World Day.|
In Phylloxera-free Argentina, though, Malbec has flourished. Since the 1990s, it’s become an icon of the industry, but it's also present in California, Chile, and some other parts of the world. While it’s still relatively rare in Europe, last year we managed to find it in Bruges (cinematic reference too tempting), and couldn’t resist sampling it.
|Last year, in Bruges, we found this French Malbec on a restaurant wine list.|
Malbec’s always on hand in our household, but this World Malbec Day has a poignant aspect. On March 8th, as I was traveling in Chile, our beloved Alaskan malamute Malbec—nearly 15 years old—had to be euthanized.
|This is our first World Malbec Day without this 2004 vintage.|
Having returned home, I still expect to see him in one or another of his customary resting places when I get out of bed in the morning, and as I walk around the house during the day. On this Malbec World Day, we’ll raise a glass to him this evening, and encourage all his admirers to do so. He left a lasting imprint (pawprint) here.
|Before Malbec died, the attending vet made us a pawprint.|