Cahors and Argentina are planning a joint venture to develop the reputation of the Malbec grape.

Although it is better known in Argentina, it is generally believed that Malbec originated in southwest France, from the Quercy area and the vineyards of Cahors, where it is more usually called Auxerrois.

It represents over 80% of the plantings within the AOC Cahors area (4,614ha), and almost 71% of the surface in Argentina (24,000ha). Together that accounts for 77% of the worldwide plantings of the grape.

A symposium in Cahors from April 4-6 kicks off the venture. Producers from both Cahors and Argentina will attend, including George Vigouroux of Domaine Vigourous and Pascal Verhaeghe of Chateau du Cedre.

Winemakers from Argentina have yet to be confirmed. Roberto de la Mota, former consultant to French joint venture Cheval des Andes, is expected to attend.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux