708 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
Whatever the eventual answer, to my palate, the differences only add to
the interest of this rather newly popular varietal as it spreads across the
Other areas where Malbec is now grown include California, Oregon,
Washington, Ontario, South Africa, and Loire and Bordeaux, where it plays
a minor role in their wine blends. The major Bordeaux varietals are Merlot
(on the right bank of the Gironde Estuary) and Cabernet Sauvignon (on its
left bank), with Cabernet Franc as a significant player, particularly on the
right bank. Some wineries also use Malbec and Petit Verdot and Carménère.
In B.C., Malbec is used to make Bordeaux-style blends, which due to
trademark reasons are called “Meritage” MARE-ih-tej in Canada and in the
United States. It is also found as a single varietal wine, with production volumes
and the number of producers slowly increasing.
However, despite its wide plantings
in these many wine regions, Malbec
remains a difficult grape to grow.
It is susceptible to various grape diseases
and vinicultural hazards, most
notably frost, coulure (also called
grape shatter, as some grapes in a
cluster never develop), downy
mildew and rot. Development of new
clones and vineyard management
techniques have helped control some
of these potential problems.
Here is a sampling of Malbec wines
from Cahors, Argentina and B.C. The
French and Argentine versions are
available through the BCLDB, but for
the B.C. versions you must check private
wine stores and outlets like Saveon
Foods, which now has the largest
A bottle of vin noir savoured in a Cahors streetside cafe
selection of B.C. wines of any retailer.
I also add a southern French–style white and a Provençal rosé for late summer
CHÂTEAU LES CROISILLE CALCAIRE 2014
AOC Cahors #206431 $32.99
From a smaller family-owned producer, this big wine is pure Malbec, with
over 18 months in French oak. It is literally black in colour. The grapes are