Book Review & Wine Pairing: Malbec Mon Amour – A Definitive Guide to Malbec by One of Argentina’s Most Important Wine-Producing Families, the Catena Family
Imagine building the success of an entire country’s wine industry on the back of a minor, Bordeaux blending grape and then becoming the world’s-largest producer and best expression of that grape.
Indeed, this is what Argentina did for the malbec grape.
Malbec is one of the first things that comes to mind when people think of Argentina (yes, even before soccer and grass-fed beef), not least of which because it is the country’s most-planted grape variety.
In Argentina, the black-grape variety produces full-bodied, spicy wines when grown in lower altitudes and fresh, elegant wines when grown at higher altitudes.
The Catena family is to Argentinean malbec what Robert Mondavi is to Napa Valley cabernet, and the family’s story is closely linked to the rise of the grape.
The book Malbec Mon Amour chronicles the Catena family’s and Argentina’s love affair with the dark-skinned grape variety.
Written by Catena-Zapata-fourth-generation vintner and physician, Dr. Laura Catena and Catena Zapata’s winemaking director, Alejandro Vigil, Malbec Mon Amour provides a fun, colorful-art-filled, coffee-table-book journey of the history of malbec through to today.
Both the generously-curious and the wine nerd would find this book of interest as it provides lots of interesting stories and viticulture detail especially if you’re planning a wine-country visit.
Because Mendoza, Argentina is one of my favorite wine destinations, and I found the detail with regards to the different aroma and flavor characteristics that are associated with different geographical viticultural areas within Mendoza to be of special interest because it gives you the ability to seek out malbecs with the aroma and flavor characteristics you enjoy the most.
The authors’ playful banter with each other is also entertaining to read as you track malbec’s journey from France to modern-day Argentina.
Pair the Book with a Glass of Malbec
As you might imagine, a book about malbec pairs beautifully with a glass of malbec.
You’ll definitely enjoy curling up with a glass of malbec with this book in hand.
During an asado-themed (Argentine grilling) wine dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar in Fairfield, Connecticut celebrating Catena Zapata’s 120th Anniversary, I sampled a selection of the winery’s higher-end malbecs and got my copy of Malbec Mon Amour signed by Dr. Catena herself.
The wine dinner included a dramatic-historical performance by London-actress, Tina Baston, inspired by stories chronicling malbec’s rise in the book.
I’ve never seen such a creative merging of wine and performance art, but I’m definitely here for more of it.
Below are wines I enjoyed from the wine-dinner tasting that would pair well with an evening at home learning more about Argentinean wines from one of the country’s most notable producers.
Happy, delicious reading – chin-chin!
- Catena Zapata, Catena Alta Historic Rows Chardonnay 2019, Mendoza, Argentina (Wine Casual 93 Points)
- Catena Zapata, Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2018, Uco Valley, Argentina (Wine Casual, 93 Points)
- Catena Zapata, Nicolás Catena Zapata 2018, Mendoza, Argentina (Wine Casual, 93 Points)
- Catena Zapata, Catena Alta Historic Rows Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina (Wine Casual, 95 Points)