Malbech

Photo taken from 'Principali vitigni da vino coltivati in Italia' (see references)

 

Synonym: Malbec, Costa Rossa (Italy); Malbeck (Argentina); Côt, Luckens, Auxerrois, Bolouzat, Cahors, Cot Rouge, Nior de Pressac, Pied de Perdrix, Pressac, Auxerrais, Balouzat, Parde, Jacobin, Gourdaux, Monrame, Magret, Terranis, Plant d’Arles, Quercy (France).

 

Commonly mistaken for: Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Damas, Grosse Sérine,  Tresseax.

 

Origin: French variety, native to the Médoc area in Bordeux. According to other authors (De Secondat, 1785; Odar, 1849 and Molon, 1906) the traditional names of this variety: Malbech and Luckens, they are the names of the two French owners, because they were first to plant this vine in their vineyards. While the common name Côt, used in France, refers to the family membership of this variety: Family Côts. Around the 18th century it was introduced to Italy and probably was brought in the Marengo Plain (North Italy) by the Knight Manfredo di Sambuy, but only in 1881 was ampelographically described by Count Provana di Collegno (Turin). Now it is commonly cultivated in North and North-Eastern of Italy and also in South (the Puglia region). This variety has arrived in Argentina, where it s the major red varietal planted. Malbech is also planted in Chile, California and Australia.

 

Agronomic and environmental aspects: this variety is very sensitive to climatic changes: with dry seasons shows a good and quite constant production, with rainy springs and frosts it can show hen and chicken and dropping off. It prefers less fertile, dry and compact soils and low-vigour sites, with a good percentage of clay and rich in calcium carbonate. Medium-wide training system is required, with cane pruning, but leaving only a few buds per shoot. In fertile sites a low vigour rootstock (101-14, 3309, Schwarzmann, 41B) is advised.

 

Diseases, pests and disorders: Sensitive to downy mildew. Medium-low resistance to botrytis, powdery mildew, bunch rot, phomopsis cane and leaf spot. Sensitive to frosts and have tendency to develop hen and chickens and coulure.

 

Description:

Growing Tip: wide open to fully open, with a good density of erect hairs, of whitish green colour, with reddish edges.   

Leaf: of large dimensions, orbicular, entire or 3-lobed. Has an open U-V shaped petiolar sinus, the superior lateral sinuses (if there are) are like an open V, while the inferior are absent. The profile is U-shaped and blistered with revolute lobes.

Bunch: medium-large, of pyramidal form, winged, with a medium density of berries.   

Berry: medium-large, round with a strong and thick skin of blue-black colour, covered by bloom.

 

Vegetation growth habit:

semi-erect

Vigour:

medium-high

Average bunch weight:

medium (200-300 g.)

Average bunches per shoot:

2 or 3

 

Growth Stages:

Time of budburst:

early

Time of flowering:

early

Time of veraison:

early

Time of harvest:

medium-early

 

Available Clones:

-          Malbec 20 MAT 1: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

-          Malbec 26 MAT 2: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

-          Malbec 80 MAT 3: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

-          Malbec 82 MAT 4: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

-          Malbec 104 MAT 5: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

-          Malbec 105 MAT 6: Selected in Argentina, by Matura Group (Italy). The clone is still in experimental stages.

 

Wine characteristics:

Wine is rich in colour, very tannic (especially the Chilean wines), with a good body, fresh and well-balanced, not very acidic. It becomes mature with a short ageing, acquiring high tone fragrances and aromas (especially the Argentinean wines), with a varietal herbaceous taste (green pepper). Malbech is one of the traditional “Bordeaux” varieties, its most frequent blendmates are: Merlot, Cabernet, Gamay to make sophisticated and restrained wines (Bordeaux style). In Italy it is used to blend with Uva di Troia and Negro Amaro varieties in DOC: Rosso di Cerignola (Puglia).