Producer Profiles

The Resurgence of Malbec

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25/01/2022 The Uno Malbec 2018 won the Gold Medal at the Sommeliers Choice Awards 2021. Read more about the revival of malbec which was less popular after 1956.

Malbec, a thin-skinned grape, produces highly aromatic and high tannin wines. Argentina offers the perfect weather for this grape to flourish. However, after the frost of 1956 around 75% of the Malbec vines were destroyed. In the next thirty years, the plantings of Malbec reduced by 60% as the farmers wanted to grow varieties that would pump out huge volumes. Thus, the winemakers shifted their attention towards Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. They not only compromised on the quality of the wine but no efforts were made to gain international reach or Argentinian wines. Moreover, the majority of the top producers believed Cabernet Sauvignon would be the flagship variety of Argentina. However, this trend changed after the 1980s. In order to uplift the economy, the government started exporting domestic wines. As the locals preferred to ignore this varietal, most of the wines consisting of Malbec started getting exported. This varietal was never heard of and the countries like the USA cherished it. Antigal winery is one such example, that has helped to promote the local wines and also enhance their quality. 

 Situated on the historic location, the Antigal winery is established on the land of a winery in Russel, Mendoza that dates back to 1897. After the refurbishment of the facility in 2000, the winery now uses the state of the art machinery to produce wine. This up-gradation is in coherence with maintaining the historical significance of the establishment. 

To keep the natural aromas and flavors, the winery encourages the use of gravity-low platforms rather than hydraulic crushers or pumps to obtain grape juice. This allows a “hands-free” approach in winemaking.

The winery released its first signature wine in 2005. To celebrate this single-vineyard wine, the number “1” was carved from the metal barrel hoops which is also reflected in the name of the wine. The company started exporting (mainly the USA) this locally produced Argentinian-style wine to increase revenue and also promote the brand. It got recognized immediately as a quality brand with its signature Malbec varietal and the number “1”.

Nowadays, this wine is exported to various parts of the world including Europe and Asia. 

Apart from global recognition, the wine also won numerous accolades, showcasing the true craft of the local wine industry. The Uno Malbec 2018 vintage won the Gold Medal at the Sommeliers Choice Awards 2021. This is a feather in the cap for the winery as it will be recognized as an established quality winery from Argentina.

Uno Malbec 2018 Shelf talker

The wines are judged based on quality, value, and packaging

Review of Uno Malbec 2018 from the 2021 Sommeliers Choice Awards 

Points Scored: 96 points

Medal won: Gold medal

Tasting notes: Rich chocolate, fig, plum, blackberry, and spice. Palate reinforces the nose. Wine is complex and delicious with flavors of blackberry pie, plum, and redcurrant.

The brand has 3 vineyards, La Dolores and Dona Angeles both in Uco Valley have altitudes of over 1000 meters above sea level with deep, sandy-loam soil. The climate at such an altitude is surprisingly warm and dry.

The third vineyard is located in Russell called La Nonna. It is at an altitude of 804 meters above sea level. The terrior here is a bit different compared to the other 3 vineyards consisting of alluvial soil and limestone. The topography and the climate are “crème de la crème” for grapes to flourish. 

Miriam Gomez, the chief winemaker is one of the most recognized winemakers in Argentina and is appreciated for her theoretical and practical implications. She studied food science and later pursued a post-graduate Diploma in Enology. Miriam is a notable personality in the wine business and has judged several tasting panels at national and international competitions.

Miriam Gomez, the chief winemaker, Antigal Winery (1)

Science coupled with passion yields remarkable results, Source: Instagram

“At Antiginal, I have the freedom to create single-varietal and blended wines in a variety of styles,” Miriam said. She further explained that she gets to work with the finest fruits and best-in-class facilities. This inspires her to strive for exceptional results. 

Article written by Arjun Moghe, Beverage Trade Network

2022 Sommeliers Choice Awards Winners Announced! View Results Here!