The Malbec diaries

By Tennille Chalmers

The Malbec diaries

At Chalmers, we live and breathe Italian grape varieties, but we do have a great selection of Malbec clones in our both our Mildura and Heathcote vineyards as well.  The six clones we have planted were chosen from the well known and impeccable Catena vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina, and bought into the country in the same, new grapevine material importation program we carried out in the late 1990’s.  This was the program which saw us bring in varieties such as Greco, Garganega, Nero d’Avola and Sagrantino, all varieties that were not previously available in Australia.

Malbec World Day (MWD) is celebrated globally on the 17th April each year, and very simply is a day highlighting the many reasons Malbec is such a brilliant variety right from the vineyards to the wineglass.  Our Arturo Heathcote Malbec was invited to be a part of the Gauchito Gil Malbec event in Melbourne this April, a day aimed at both trade and consumers, organised by Bottle Shop Concepts (thanks Dan Sims) with ample empanadas and tango dancing to keep the punters entertained.  A great day was had by all.

During the #bucketwine vintage, we are in the vineyard every morning looking, tasting and making decisions on harvest times and dates, potential wine making styles and options for blends.  We love what we do!  Sometimes we can even get a bit carried away as the opportunities are endless with so many varieties we have in the vineyard.  So, when planning the WMD celebrations, I thought that the idea of making a wine especially for the day was a great idea.  The decision was a quick one with the malbec fruit at perfect ripeness to make a rose – or ‘rosado’, so we picked the fruit that afternoon and the journey of the #bucketwine Malbec Rosado began….

1.  Pretty, perfect, malbec bunches ripe for the picking.


2.  Enough fruit to make about 3 dozen bottles!


3.  The man of Malbec himself – Big Bruce – on quality control.


4.  The non-glamourous part of the wine industry!  Stained hands, daggy farmer mode clothes…


5.  Cold soaked crushed fruit, pressed, and wild fermentation begins.


6.  Almost dry and looking the goods!


7.  After about 3 weeks, the dry wine is cold stabilised and racked, ready for alcohol tests.


8. Bottled, labelled, and ready for Gauchito Gil celebrations.


9. Boxed up #bucketwine ready for the trip to Melbourne.


10. Malbec tasting table ready to go.


11. Two fine ladies – Julie and Shelley loving all things Malbec.


12.  Happiness is….. Mad keen Malbec man Nav of Matchbox wines ripping into his new favourite rosado…


The wine was a huge success on the day, with lots of punters thinking we were either mad or very clever making a wine exclusively for the day.  “Only 3 dozen made” they all said ….. but how can we buy some? I think we’ll have to make a bit more next year.  Who knows…. there might even be an Arturo Malbec Rosado one day…..

Happy drinking…


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