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Monique Lubiana
22 July 2021 | Monique Lubiana

A brief introduction to Malbec

Historically Malbec grapes were widely grown in Bordeaux France.  However this variety amongst others, was decimated by Phylloxera.  Phylloxera is a louse that eats the roots of the vine, and was introduced to France from America in the 1860’s.  Phylloxera was overcome in France and across Europe by grafting healthy canes onto rootstocks of grape varieties that are largely resistant to phylloxera.  Today in Bordeaux Malbec is only grown on rootstocks and is mostly produced as one of the 5 key Bordeaux red varieties namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Cheval des Andes is a famous Malbec producer located in Mendoza, Argentina.  Here you will find their high altitude vineyard close to Lujan de Cuyo Valley in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, between 900 & 1500 metres elevation.  It was the dream of the Founder of Cheval des Andes, Pierre Lurton to plant the original Malbec vines from Bordeaux to Argentina.  A vineyard originally planted to Malbec, on their own roots, in 1929.  A joint venture between Terrazas de Los Andes and Cheval des Andes established in 1999 produces the expensive and very famous Malbec, Bordeaux-style blend that has become the signature wine of the Cheval des Andes.

Malbec on their own roots provide the purest expression of the variety. We are lucky here at Stefano Lubiana Wines like at Cheval des Andes to be able to grow our Malbec on own roots. 

There you have it, a little history lesson on the Malbec variety.  A relatively new variety to Tasmania and not yet widely grown throughout the many and varied viticultural regions of Tasmania.  Here at Stefano Lubiana Wines we have been growing Malbec for some 10 years.  Up until recently the grapes have found a home in our Bordeaux blend predominantly made up of Merlot.  In 2018 we decided to make the blend 100% Malbec and the wine has not disappointed our many Buon Gusto club members, visitors to our eatery and those visiting for a tasting at our Tuscan inspired cellar door.

We are growing our grapes in soil similar to those found in Bordeaux, grey silty loam over small rocks and stones that have washed up over many millions of years, a product of river-bank drift.  Our climate is cool like that of the Andes but not a result of altitude but a product of Tasmania’s southern latitude.  Here the cool sea breezes ebb and flow along the tidal banks of the Derwent River creating perfect ripening conditions for Malbec.

Our 2018 harvest of the Stefano Lubiana biodynamic Malbec produced a wine that exhibits a highly expressive perfumed style with rich supple body. Forest floor, spice and Autumn fruits dominate the nose whilst the palate is a balance of rich plums intermingled with spice and ripe soft tannins.



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