Welcome to the home of the "French Paradox"! My trip to Cahors with Malbec Days was sponsored by the AOC - and they hosted over 100 wine professionals from around the world. They were obviously on a mission to spread the word about what makes the region special, but it was also intriguing to see what the perception was of the job WE are doing as ambassadors in the wine world.
Here is my small group from the USA, with our fearless leader, Michael Littleton of Bird Rock Imports, my liason for many great Southern French wines. We are standing on the edge of the Lot River, the heart of the region.
Here is a great video of our program, featuring clips from some pretty great US Sommeliers:
I went to a seminar projecting Malbec's future internationally with wineries who grow the grape in the United States, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and France. The counries with the smallest number of growers of Malbec were New Zealand (21) and South Africa (25), but they are also learning how to compete in the global market.
Enthusiast magazine, we were reminded why people hate selling wines in our country. Roger explained that Americans "buy with their eyes and dollar signs." Where most consumers search for quality within their budget, we buy by label, then price, and THEN consider if the wine is good. Sight is more important than taste. Also wines over $15 are hard to sell in the US, and most French wine is higher than that level. Another hurdle to overcome is that so few Americans speak French; Roger suggested it would be easier to sell French wines with Spanish labels!
-Malbec has been grown in Chile longer than Argentina
-In the US, it is grown in CA, WA, OR,NY, VA, CO, and NJ
-In 2014, its only mention on social media was on Twitter
-There are 120 growers currently with plantings in Australia
-It was in a famous drink made in Russia in the 1700s
-1/4 of all the wine grown in Argentina is Malbec