I have loved wine for as long as I can remember.
My grandfather was Portuguese. He would always bring a bottle of a sweet Port wine to our family reunions and let us have a taste.
As I grew older, I developed more of a taste for other kinds of wine, but every now and then I would still have Port.
My latest favorite wine is the Argentine malbec.
I introduced my older brother to many different kinds of wine, but it was he who introduced me to malbec after he came back from a work-related trip to Argentina, where he feasted on what he called some of the best steak he has ever had, accompanied by a bottle of malbec. Remember: work-related trip.
Malbec grapes were actually first grown in the south of France, or so most historians say. Malbec is one of the six varieties of grapes that go into the famous red Bordeaux wine.
But somehow, the grape got so much popularity in Argentina after it was introduced there in the 19th Century, that it became that country’s national variety.
Argentine malbec is smaller and its clusters are tighter than its French cousin. Historians believe the variety brought to Argentina became extinct in France some 150 years ago due to a disease spread by a tiny aphid.
That said, malbec produces a deep-colored red wine with an intense fruity flavor and velvety texture, all without the strong tannins its French cousin has.
I find malbec a sensational, low-priced wine that goes along with any kind of food. From chocolate to donuts, seafood to steaks — even Mexican and raw food.
The only other variety of wines with such a wide range, in my opinion, are the Australian shiraz and an occasional pinot noir.
Wine, in a simple explanation, is fermented juice of crushed grapes. The natural yeast present in the grape skin converts the sugar in the juice into alcohol. It is believed that by trying to store grape juice in pottery, men ended up inventing — or discovering — wine.
But no one knows for sure when it was first invented or discovered. Most likely it was in prehistoric times. Archaeologists think it was first produced in the Neolithic period, anywhere between 11,000 and 6,000 years ago in the Zagros mountains where Armenia and northern Iran are located.