The History of Argentinian Malbec
Malbec first made its way to Argentina in 1853. In 1962, the area of Malbec reached 58,577 cultivated hectares, representing 22.5% of the total vine in the country. Then, a rapid decline in this variety began, as it was replaced by other more productive ones that gave rise to generic wines. 83% of the Malbec area was eradicated between 1962 and 1995, the year in which it reached its lowest point of the cultivated area with 9,746 hectares.
Almost on the verge of extinction, it began to resurface, and the plantations were increasing, recovering their presence in the country. Argentinian Malbec makes it possible to achieve excellent wines that consumers appreciate and recognize at a national and international level. It found its place in the world since the soils develop exceptional characteristics from the rest of the regions.
In most of Argentina’s wine-producing provinces, Malbec registered more than 46,000 cultivated hectares in 2021, representing around 22% of the total vine in the country. The number of hectares throughout the country has increased by 45% in the last decade.
Argentine Malbec in the domestic market
In 2020, 1,210,399 hl of varietal wines made with Malbec were sold. 88.7% correspond to a pure varietal and 11.3% to blends with another variety. Sales to the domestic market of wines with Malbec have been increasing in recent years, showing an increase of 118.5% in 2020 compared to 2011 and 26.4% in the last year.
Malbec and its blends as varietal wines have a 48.3% share of the total varietals marketed in the country in 2020. In the last ten years, sales of pure Malbec and Malbec varietal wines have increased. The share of wines made with this grape in the total varietal wines marketed in the country has increased by 69.7%, from 28.4% in 2011 to 48.3% in 2020.
Argentine Malbec in the foreign market
The great ambassador of Argentina is Malbec wine, along with its music, food, and lands full of natural beauty. It is hard to talk about Argentinian wine without mentioning Malbec.
In 2020, exports of varietal wines made with the Malbec variety reached a total of 1,582,360 hl, for a FOB (Free on Board) value of 486,638,000 dollars, which determines an average price per liter of wine of 3.07 dollars.
Exports of this varietal have grown by 57.4% in volume and 19.9% in value compared to 2011. 94.2% of Malbec exports correspond to pure varietal and 5.8% to blends with other varieties.
The pure Malbec varietals have increased in the foreign market. In 2020, 63.2% more hectoliters were sold than in 2011, while Malbec varietals in blends with other varieties decreased by 0.1% in the same period.
The leading destination for Malbec pure varietal wines in 2020 was the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Germany. As for blends with Malbec, the primary recipients were the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Colombia, and Canada.
Summary of the current Malbec from Argentina
Boosting not only wine sales, the wine tourism rose by 82% throughout the country, generating marginal business for more than 280 wineries, with 1.8 million visitors per year from Argentina, Brazil, USA, France, and numerous countries in the rest of the world. With average expenses of 50 USD per day and almost 100 USD million in total income.
Five facts about Malbec
- There are almost 1,850 Malbec wine labels in Argentina either as a varietal or as a component of a blend.
- More than 325 bottles of Malbec are sold every 60 seconds.
- Malbec is grown in 18 provinces while about 85% of is is in Mendoza.
- The southernmost Malbec in the world is made in Chubut. Bodega Otronia produces the southernmost and most extreme Malbec wine in the world.
- The “highest” Malbec in the world is grown in Jujuy. At 3,329 meters above sea level, Viñas de Uquía, in the Quebrada de Humahuaca grows a certified organic Malbec.
Accolades and Ratings: 4 Argentinian Malbec that obtained 100 points
- Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2018 – James Suckling
- Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Gravascal Malbec 2019 – Robert Parker
- PerSe Uni del Bonnesant 2019 – Tim Atkin
- Viñas Cobos Malbec 2019 – James Suckling
Read also: Malbec: The Purple Grape Variety
- Statistical Report on Malbec Varietals – National Institute of Viticulture of Argentina – 2021
- Six things you probably didn’t know about Malbec – iProfesional, Wines and Wineries – 2022