The Vineyard at the End of the World
August 24, 2019 1:09 PM - by Ian Mount - Subscribe

As wine connoisseurs know, Argentine wine was once famously bad. The grapes were overwatered, harvested in brutal heat, fermented in enormous cement pools, aged in antiquated oak vats, and then watered down and adulterated. The final product was industrial plonk, drinkable only on ice. But in 2001, a Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec blend beat Napa and Bordeaux’s finest in a blind taste test. Suddenly, Argentina emerged as a premier wine region with a champion varietal―what best-selling author Benjamin Wallace calls “the humble Malbec.” How did this happen?

Ian Mount’s vivid journey through Argentina’s Wild West explores the alchemy of weather, soil, and viticulture techniques that, on rare occasions, produce a legendary bottle of wine. He also investigates the dynamics of taste, status, and money that turned Malbec into a worldwide phenomenon.

Profiling the larger-than-life figures who fueled the Malbec revolution―including celebrity oenologist Michel Rolland, acclaimed American winemaker Paul Hobbs, and the Mondavi-esque Catena family―Mount describes in colorful detail the brilliant innovations and backroom politics that put Malbec on the map.

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the snow-capped Andes and Mendoza’s sweeping plains, The Vineyard at the End of the World tells the fascinating, four-hundred-year story of how a wine mecca arose in the Argentine desert. It is at once a sumptuous travel narrative, a riveting history of a fascinating region, and an intriguing business story in which a small group of passionate vintners remade their world.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (3 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is kinda a great book. Like all good non-fiction it’s only marginally about Malbec and more about Argentina- or rather putting Malbec into the context of Argentina. And then putting Argentina wines in the context of immigration to Argentina, old world and new world influences on Argentina- indigenous agriculture in the context of Argentina, Chilean wine in contrast to Argentina. It’s a good book, largely about Argentina and wine. Read it!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I checked this out of the library this week and will give it a read once I finish Godforsaken Grapes. I also picked up some reasonably-priced but well-reviewed Malbec to accompany the book!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just added it to my to read list. For someone who hates wine I've read a lot more about it than I ever thought I would thanks to these posts.
posted by kanata at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2019


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