The History of Argentinian Malbec
Malbec first made its way to Argentina in the 19th century. In 1962, the area of Malbec wine reached 58,577 cultivated hectares, representing 22.5% of the total vine in the country. Then, there was a rapid decline in this variety, as more productive wines replaced it and gave rise to generic, lower-quality wines. The majority of the Malbec vineyards were eradicated between 1962 and 1995. During these years it reached its lowest point of the cultivated area with only 9,746 hectares.
Almost on the verge of extinction, Malbec wine began to gain popularity again, and Argentineans began to plant more vineyards. Argentinian Malbec produces excellent wines that consumers appreciate and recognize at a national and international level.
In most of Argentina’s wine-producing provinces, Malbec registered more than 46,000 cultivated hectares in 2021, representing almost a quarter of the total vine in the country. The number of hectares throughout the country has grown by 45% in the last decade.
Argentine Malbec in the Domestic Market
In 2020, 1,210,399 hectoliters of wines made with Malbec were sold. Most were 100% Malbec, while some were blends with another variety. Malbec sales to the domestic market have been growing in recent years, showing an increase of 118.5% in 2020 compared to 2011 and 26.4% in the last year.
Malbec and its varietal blends had almost half the share of the total varietals marketed in the country in 2020. In the last ten years, sales of Malbec 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.
Argentinian Malbec in the Foreign Market
The great ambassador of Argentina is Malbec wine, along with its music, food, and lands of natural beauty. It is hard to talk about Argentinian wine without mentioning Malbec.
In 2020, exports of varietal wines made with the Malbec reached a total of 1,582,360 hectoliters, for a FOB (Free on Board) value of $486,638,000, which is an average price of $3.o7 per liter of wine.
Exports of this varietal have grown by 57.4% in volume and 19.9% in value compared to 2011. Nearly all Malbec exports correspond to pure varietal and a very small amount are blended with other varieties.
The pure Malbec varietals have increased in the foreign market. In 2020, they sold 63.2% more hectoliters than in 2011, while Malbec blends with other varieties decreased ever so slightly 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 State of Argentinean Malbec
Boosting not only wine sales, but wine tourism also rose by 82% throughout the country, generating marginal business for more than 280 wineries, with 1.8 million visitors per year from Argentina, Brazil, the USA, France, and numerous other countries. With average expenses of 50 USD per day and almost 100 USD million in total income.
Five Facts about Malbec:
- More than 325 bottles of Malbec are sold every 60 seconds.
- 18 different provinces grow Malbec, but about 85% of the growth 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.
- Jujuy grows the “highest” Malbec in the world. 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
Want to read more? Try these books!
- 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