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Argentina already had Evita, Tango, grilled beef and Malbec . Now it has its own Riedel glass for Malbec, specially-crafted for Graffigna, the oldest winery from the province of San Juan, since 1870, and Argentina’s second oldest winery.

the-malbec-glassMaximilian J. Riedel, President and 11th generation Riedel family member to lead the heritage crystal house based in Austria and the Riedel glassware brand worldwide,  has never had any doubt that having the proper stemware enhances the experience of enjoying a glass of wine. But there was no Malbec glass among the hundreds of stemware he developed with winemakers around the world for their specific varietal.

Like Juan Graffigna and his nephew Santiago in 1870, Riedel too was seduced by the arid charms of the San Juan landscape and by the amazing wines it produces, namely the premium Argentine Malbecs  Graffigna Centenario and Graffigna Grand Reserve which regularly receive top accolades.

He teamed up not with any of the major Malbec producers in Mendoza, the cradle of Malbec, but with Graffigna from San Juan, to develop the archetype of the Malbec glass that would accurately display the quality and intensity of the aromas and properly balance the flavors inherent in Malbec varietals world wide.

The designers at Riedel worked closely with the Graffigna team; prototypes were tested and rated in New York by a panel of influential wine journalists and recognized Malbec experts who helped select the perfect vessel to become the world's first official Malbec glass. "When conceiving this glass for Malbec, the characteristics of the variety were profoundly considered," remarked Maximilian Riedel. "The concept was not born on a drawing board, but finely tuned by trial and error through a highly collaborative effort involving top experts and enthusiasts."

The Malbec glass

Carefully selected proportions -- a base 3.54" in diameter, a stem 3.94" long, and a bowl 5.32" tall and 3.35" wide at its by Text-Enhance">fullest point -- coupled with a narrow cut rim, help to concentrate the aromas and direct the wine to the center of the tongue. These features create a harmonious balance between the distinguishing qualities of Malbec wine: its smooth and sweet tannins, its bold fruit flavors and its medium acidity.

The Malbec glass which was launched in April as part of Malbec World Day celebrations joins the prestigious Riedel collection of varietal-specific stemware. www.riedel.com 

The province of San Juan

North of Mendoza, along the foot of the Andes, the province’s valleys -- Tulum (the most important of all these valleys, straddling the banks of the San Juan river), Ullum-Zonda (El Pedernal Valley), Calingasta, Jáchal, Iglesia and Fértil — range from an elevation of 4,430 feet  in El Pedernal Valley (a micro-climate zone within Ullum- Zonda, recognized for its excellent agronomic quality), down to 1,970 feet  in the lower districts of Tulum Valley.

The climate is as dry as the Sahara desert with more than 300 days of annual sunshine and great thermal amplitude between day and night. With little rainfall, scorching summers, freezing  winters and extremely  low humidity — a bonus for the vines resulting in pollution free crops and low use of chemicals.  These conditions create wines that are full-bodied, elegant and aromatic.

Graffigna Centenario Malbec , Pedernal Valley ,San Juan, Argentina    100% Malbec, 14.2 % alcohol.   Hand harvested  in the cool early hours of the morning,  sfter 15-days of skin maceration to obtain the deep color and intense fresh fruit aromas that characterizes  Graffigna Malbec , the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks , aged 12 months in oak barrels (85% French Oak and 15% American Oak)  for  complexity and elegance, with 3 months in the bottle before release.  The result is an elegant,  well-balanced yet powerful wine dark purple red with violet hues.  Fruit forward aromas of ripe red berries, sweet spices and a hint of black pepper backed by toasted notes develop in the palate into a structured and balanced wine, with ripe tannins and fresh acidity and a lingering toast and vanilla finish.  It pairs well with just about every food, from pastas and stews to lamb and grilled beef, spicy food and poultry. Service Temperature:  59/62°F