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Me and the BF with glasses of Malbec @ Vincent Arroyo

Often times I impress people with the random pieces of information I have at my fingertips. Just as often, however, I prove infinitely annoying in my ability to remember the scientific name for the fear of beards (pogonophobia – and no, I did not just look that up) while failing to recall important things like passwords or the name of the person calling on the other line.

When the BF and I went wine tasting in Napa last summer, I managed to impress a winemaker guiding the tasting at Vincent Arroyo, a wonderful boutique winery in Calistoga, by knowing what Malbec was.

Looking back it seems that it can’t possibly have already been early June that a winemaker was impressed that a precocious 23-year-old was able to quickly identify Malbec as a typically minor grape grown in Bordeaux for blending purposes. Or that the Malbec produced in Bordeaux was typically as full bodied yet much more tannic as the juicy and smooth Malbecs coming out of Argentina.

I, on the other hand, was just as surprised to have a reason to discuss Malbec in Napa! When the wine maker produced a bottle of wine called “Bodega” for us to try and went on to tell us it was mostly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc thrown in for good measure, it was like a revelation. Malbec? In California? Quoi???

As it turned out, the wine was delicious and if I was the kind of girl who had $35 to spend on an every-day wine, Vincent Arroyo would have made quite a profit that day.

But none of this is really the point – the point is that I can’t believe that it was June of 2010 that a winemaker was impressed with a 23-year-old knowing about Malbec.  Because these days, it often seems like the only wine people around my age know about is Malbec.

It seems nearly impossibly that it only took from early June until the middle of August for Malbec to become the wine-du-jour amongst hip 20-somethings.

The event that set the dominoes in motion, for me, was the BF’s roommate’s dinner party in LA in August. When the host (who knew less about wine than I did about an East Coast winter at the time) ordered a bottle of French Malbec, I took notice.

And then I noticed as more people around me ordered glasses of Malbec or had bottles of it open in the kitchen with more and more frequency; my cousins at family dinner, my friend Phoebe the food-blogger, one girlfriend after another on various wine nights, and on and on until, most recently, a food-loving coworker admitted she knew nothing about wine except that she knew she loved Malbec.

20-somethings and Malbec became such a thing that the very same night I was trying to convey its very thing-ness to a skeptical friend, she went back to her apartment later that night to discover a bottle of it open on the kitchen counter. She took a picture and sent it to me with a note acknowledging my acumen for wine trends…the roommates in question hadn’t opened a single bottle of wine in her presence in the six months she’d lived with them – until the Malbec.

So, you ready to be a cool kid, too? All you have to do is run out and grab a bottle of Malbec or order a glass of it the next time you see it on a wine list. Chances are, if you’re between the ages of 21-30 you’ll like the stuff. Besides the fact that its generally pretty amenable – big fruit without being overripe, nice subtle spice, and smooth – it’s also relatively friendly to the average 20-something’s budget. Go on, experience the j’nais se quoi for yourself and let me know how it goes!!!!!

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