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Argentine Embassy promotes flagship Malbec wine

The Argentine Embassy promoted the country’s flagship Malbec wine at a tasting event in Seoul on Thursday as part of the eighth iteration of the annual “Malbec World Day” celebration.

The event, on April 17 each year, is sponsored by Wines of Argentina, a public promotional agency supported by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship as well as the Argentine Wine Corporation. Every year around the day, Argentina’s Malbec is promoted across more than 60 cities around the world.

“In a country where the winemaking tradition is as deeply rooted in our culture as tango, football and asado barbecue, Malbec has won its place as one of the greatest ambassadors of our culture, the flagship grape of Argentina par excellence,” said Argentine Ambassador to Korea Jorge Roballo.

“This classical varietal wine is constantly being reinvented to go beyond the limits of our imagination. We challenge you to liberate your senses and feelings to find something new in Malbec’s intensely dark, velvety colors and fruity, balsamic flavors.”

Malbec originated in Bordeaux, Cahors and Loire Valley in France, and was imported to Argentina in the mid-19th century by French agronomist Michel Aime Pouget. With the help of Italian and French immigrants, the grape seedlings quickly adapted to local terroirs and produced grapes even better than those of France, according to Wines of Argentina.

Malbec has a full-bodied flavor -- characterized by its dark velvet color and balsamic aroma -- due to its robust tannin structure, and wine lovers say it goes well with Korean barbecue and other dishes.

Over the last decade, the Argentine viticulture has increasingly relied on Malbec to understand each terroir, the diplomat said, noting the varietal had come to cover 25,000 hectares in 2015 and make up 57 percent of the country’s total wines exported.

A new generation of Malbec wine producers has pushed frontiers westward and up into the mountains, and used the intense sunrays in the south to produce ripe, fruity, full-bodied and well-balanced tannins, the ambassador explained.

“Our wines are produced in different regions of our country -- in the north, west and south -- and each varietal represents our vast territory, diverse climates and rich cultures,” Roballo said.

Argentina’s wineries vigorously apply their scientific knowledge into their viticulture to cultivate, harvest and produce authentic, pure and natural wines, according to the embassy. Different factors, such as high altitude, dry continental climate, diverse terroirs, fertile soil and ice-melt water, combine to concoct the Argentine wine’s flavor.

The ambassador thanked the 16 Korean importers present at the venue who represent 20 Argentine wineries for increasing the bilateral business. Argentine wine exports to Korea reached $4.7 million last year, a nearly 8 percent increase from 2016.

By Joel Lee (