The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Kent Malbec is an experiment, but not for sale

A Malbec made in Kent with Argentinian grapes was never destined for sale on the mainstream market, but rather as an “intriguing experiment”, says Wines of Argentina.

Kent winery Chapel Down, the Gaucho Restaurant Group and Wines of Argentina teamed up to produce 1,300 bottles of Chapel Down Malbec 2011, made in the UK from grapes grown in Mendoza. The project’s aim is to celebrate the second anniversary of Malbec World Day.

Last week Chapel Down’s chief executive Frazer Thompson said he was “exasperated” that under EU regulations, he would not be allowed to label the wine as Malbec or sell it.

However, a spokesman for the Wine Standards Board at the Food Standards Agency said it had advised the producer back in December 2011 that although the wine could not be marketed, “it could be used as a promotional tool restricted to tasting purposes for World Malbec Day”.

Andrew Maidment, European director of Wines of Argentina, told Harpers: “It is important to note that the intention of the project was not actually to produce a wine that would be sold in the mainstream marketplace – after all, we have just 1,000 bottles.

“The project was and is all about making a uniquely English version of an Argentinian classic. It represents the very first time that an English winemaker has had the opportunity to work with this variety. It’s an intriguing experiment.”

Maidment said the results were “outstanding”, adding, “we’re looking forward to showing people what is an excellent, one-off product”.

Story by Harpers Editorial Team

Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review

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