An inventive Argentinian winemaker has created the first white Malbec wine.
Bodega Trivento winemaker Maximiliano Ortiz’s new white Malbec has just been released in the United States. “We are the first winery to create this style of wine, a (Malbec) white wine made with red grapes,” says Ortiz. “In a way, we have developed a new category of wine.”
Trivento White Malbec 2022 was just released in the United States, and it retails for a suggested price of $11. White Malbec is a milestone for Ortiz, who began experimenting with the idea in 2018.
To start with, Ortiz changed the harvest date in 2019 from March, when it usually is harvested, to the last week in January, when the grapes weren’t as ripe. “We have an immediate soft press to separate the skin from the pulp, and then, we added oxygen in the fermentation, with the idea to burn the color during fermentation, and it was trial and error,” Ortiz says.
The first White Malbec was bottled into only 30,000 cases, and the current vintage has grown now to a release of 160,000 cases. “The 2019 was the first vintage, and it was a good product, but the 2022, the current vintage we’ve just released, and the 2023…I think we have an amazing product,” Ortiz says. “Every year we improved on the techniques.”
“What people love about this wine is that it’s completely different,” Ortiz says. “When you say Malbec, people think of a wine with a lot of red color and red fruit aromas. This is a completely different product. You have the essence of (a regular) Malbec, but in a different format.”
The wine’s appearance, he says is “not just white – it’s crystalline, beautiful, and it looks like water.” “First you look at the color, and then you smell the wine, and you get the aroma first of green apple, which is very strange if you’re drinking a Malbec,” he says. “Then, you smell the cherries, the strawberries and you can feel the soft tannins. You have the tannins, but you also have the acidity of a white wine.”
The white Malbec has been very successful in Mexico, where it started with an import of only 5,000 cases that has now grown to 50,000 cases. It’s also been successful, he says, in the United Kingdom. “It’s a wine that attracts new consumers,” Ortiz says.
The white Malbec is perfect for summer. “It’s a very relaxed wine, and it doesn’t need any food to enjoy it, but it’s a very food friendly wine,” Ortiz says. Unlike regular Malbec, which pair really well with heavy meats and barbecue, the white Malbec pairs beautifully with seafood, fish and chicken, as well as salads and vegetables.
The white Malbec won’t be the last innovation at Trivento, he says. “Every year, we have different things we’re working on, but the next one is a big secret so I can’t reveal it yet,” he says, adding that consumers should look for something new on the horizon next year.