Regionality of Mendoza Malbec

  • BY Lizzy Butler

The Catena Institute of Wine published an article on their groundbreaking research on the existence of terroir in wine and in the subregions of Mendoza. Using Malbec as their test varietal, it was named the ‘Most Extensive Terroir Study of Any Varietal Wine.’

Why is this important?

This study produced two major conclusions:

  • The subregions in Mendoza are diverse, and produce vastly different styles of Malbec
    • Malbec from different parcels (terroirs) are chemically different from each other, and therefore produce a different expression of Malbec in your glass. ie: Not all Malbecs taste the same, and they change based on their terroir!
  • Terroir exists, especially in Mendoza. We are only at the beginning of understanding its complexity.
    • The only other study closest to the depth of detail of the institute’s was carried out in Burgundy, comparing wines form the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintage across four climats in the Côtes de Beaune and Nuits

The Research: The team chemically analyzed 201 Malbecs from across four different levels of terroir – three large regions, six departments, 12 geographical indications, and 23 individual parcelas (smaller than one hectare) – over three different vintages (2016, 2017 and 2018).

The Outcome: 11 out of 23 parcelas could be identified by chemical analysis with 100% certainty, while the remaining 12 parcelas could be identified with up to 83% certainty.

The ‘cru’ of Mendoza:

  • “Our study gives credence to what the Burgundian Cistercian monks called ‘cru,’ simply defined by Hugh Johnson as ‘a homogeneous section of the vineyard whose wines year after year proved to have an identity of quality and flavor,’” added Dr Catena.
  • “And today, for the first time in the scientific literature, the French ‘cru’ gets a Spanish name, ‘parcela,’ because the wines studied at the Catena Institute of Wine were from Mendoza, Argentina.”

Why does this matter?

First, the sheer depth and extensiveness of the study is impressive regardless of wine region. But what gets us so excited is this study is giving scientific evidence to what we have been preaching all along about Malbec: regionality matters. For over 20 years, Vine Connections has been a category leader for Argentina Malbec and the constant evolution of this varietal. We are committed to showcasing a portfolio that shows the breadth and depth of all that Mendoza Malbec has to offer, along with keeping up to date on the latest research on Malbec.

Learn about our complete Malbec portfolio and access our Malbec Marketing materials below.


UNDER: Argentina