Argentina’s Romance with Malbec and Soda Stéreo
It’s no secret that the largest specimens coming from the south of the globe are from the Malbec grape, but did you know they were actually created in France? More precisely in Cahors, a small area within the super-known land of Bordeaux a.k.a. place of origin for the best cuts or blends that exist in the world.
The famous Bordeaux wines have a small percentage of the Cot grape (which is French Malbec), but there it develops far differently than in Argentinian latitudes. Why? The dry climate with little rain and many hours of sun that characterizes Argentina.
Since Malbec’s arrival to this country, almost 150 years ago, it hasn’t stopped growing and is the flagship grape without a doubt. You can find Malbec of very different style. From fresh with lots of fruit, to intense with great contribution of wood, tannins and astringency (the ones that tend to abound the most).
The important thing is its great versatility that allows for several pairings. Barbecued meat, homemade pasta with different sauces and even seafood are excellent choices. It is a variety chosen by many white wine lovers since it usually has a “sweet” entry and pleasantly invites you to continue drinking.
Thanks to Malbec, Argentina has managed to position itself as a notable wine country in the world. From different corners, people visit us year after year to get to know the depth of where those Malbec flavors come from around each continent.
Maybe that’s why I thought of a special musical pairing for #VINOMUSIC. In the same way that our wine presented itself to the world almost 30 years ago to show Argentina’s potential, a late 80’s band (in particular its singer) transformed Argentine and Latin American rock forever. That band is Soda Stéreo.
Soda Stéreo started with a style very different from the one they were imitating, but always represented a new wave of rock, generated from high expectations and a lot of fans. Their costumes and hairstyles continue to be emulated to this day. The songs, although the band separated at the end of the 90’s, play on the radio and in the hearts of the Argentines. They took South American music to a level never before achieved.
For the wine, I chose a “garage production” wine – a.k.a low yield and premium quality. This comes to us from a couple of winemakers who only produce this Malbec and a sparkling wine: Moor-Barrio Wines. For their Malbec, Initium, they use grapes from Uco Valley in Mendoza. Specifically, 50% new vines and 50% vines over 90 years old.
They harvest these grapes by hand with the help of a handful of friends, and thresh the grapes before macerating them in cold tanks to ferment in oak barrels. They end with a malolactic fermentation in steel tanks and mature the grapes in oak for another year. The result gives just 1,000 bottles, signed and numbered one by one.
(Editor’s note: for another Uco Valley Malbec, sip the BenMarco Malbec 2014. A full-bodied, dark fruit drop with lush tannins, this is a terrific value for the wine you get.)
This marriage passes almost without thinking: uncork and let the wine breathe for about 2 hours. Flip on some Soda Stéreo: I recommend the unplugged version of “Persiana Americana” to start, then “La Ciudad De La Furia” and “Entre Caníbales”.
Finally, sit down to enjoy some wine that doesn’t stop giving us different sensations as it opens up. You’ll get lots of red fruit, with touches of caramel and chocolate from the oak. The finish is very round and silky thanks to its malolactic fermentation. Initium and Soda Stéreo are almost united in an eternal ending with the exceptional and unmistakable voice of Gustavo Cerati in the background.
Florencia Gonzalez Balverde is an international sommelier, born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina. She lives for tasting and writing about amazing vino – especially when it comes to exposing the wine world to new people. Oh, and dogs! She loves dogs. Be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and roam around her website.