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Familiar with a little online publication known as Broadsheet? Well, this Gauchito here is a huge part of how you get your city’s goss. She’s the Social Media Manager (NATIONAL!!) so runs all its Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and does a freakin’ great job doing it. Her intimate knowledge of our country’s best restaurants makes her a perfect GOLDEN EMPANADA judge.

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

I’d get the stuff IV’ed in to my veins if it wasn’t going to damage my liver

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

Tasting notes (I’ll come undone).

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

A mocha hot cross bun.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Slow-cooked pulled pork. Or salt and vinegar chips (not cook, just open a packet).

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

San Telmo

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?


What do you drink when no one is watching?

A bottle of Baileys

Follow Emily’s food adventures here:


MALBEC MAKERS: Daniela Penno, Artisan Malbec

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More MALBEC MAKERS but we prefer to call it Malbec Confessions!

Here we catch up with Daniela Penno from ARTISAN MALBEC who be showing you a proverbial BUCKET load of brilliant Malbec from Argentina.

She’s 100% Argentinean so we will be calling her in for the empanada judging we’re sure!

Tell us your story!

Authentic from Argentina, I was born in Santa Fe, the place to eat the best asados (Argentine BBQs) in the country. Working to promote Malbec during the last 10 years in Australia I decided to create together with my partner Germán, Artisan Malbec, an exclusive wine club dedicated to Malbec lovers. We are dedicated to bringing the Malbec of the world to the ever-growing number of Australians who have embarked on a love affair
with this remarkable grape.

Why Malbec?

Malbec is a way of life for me. This wine has played an incredibly important role in so many vital occasions – it has been there for countless special moments with family and friends, it was there to toast our decision to migrate to Australia and it’s been part of our work and exciting business challenges for many years.

What has been your most ‘classic’ Argentine experience?

A classic Argentine experience is that moment with a group of friends, many people talking at the same time, loud music, some empanadas to start, fire, smoke flavours and a fantastic piece of meat, all of this matched by a glass of a good Malbec. This is the way we party in Argentina, it’s all about sharing, dancing, getting together and celebrate food and wine.

Malbec is wine with Altitude. Discuss.

One key fact illustrates this: in only the last 10 years, some 15,000 hectares of Malbec have been planted above 1,000m and some as high as 3,000m. Some of Argentina’s best Malbecs are now coming from high altitude vineyards With the current yields for quality wines, the numbers are easy to see: some 100 million bottles whose spirit is marked by the coolness and freshness of altitude, offer the consumer a lively Malbec, full of fresh fruit and juiciness.

Can you remember your ‘first time’ with it?

Honestly, I don’t remember the first time I tasted Malbec, maybe my grandma shared with me a sip during a family Sunday lunch while she was cooking her famous Italian spaghetti.

But I do remember the first time I said, “I want Malbec to be part of my life and get Aussies to know this variety”, and that moment was watching a fantastic sunset in Gualtallary, overlooking the Andes, at one of the most beautiful lounge hotels in the area, with my lovely husband, while drinking a perfect 2008 Malbec from the region.

Do you tango? Have you ever tried?

I used to, many years ago when I was the presenter of some tango shows in Argentina, but I don’t practice anymore.

What can we expect from you on the day?

We will be presenting our portfolio of boutique wineries and exclusive malbecs featured or to be featured on our wine club. Limited editions, wines from well-known winemakers in Argentina, top malbec blends and some traditional wines too. Whether you’re rediscovering this remarkable grape first produced in the South of France, or taking your initial sip of a varietal now thriving in vineyards around the world, each glass of Malbec will take you on a unique journey.

What do you drink when no one’s watching?

Japanese Whisky.

Gauchito Gil: Who Even Is He?

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We talk a lot about Gauchito Gil, but seeing as you’re an Aussie not an Argentine, there’s every chance you have no idea who we’re referring to. So here you go.

In short, Gauchito Gil was a nineteenth-century Robin Hood-type character, who lived life as an outlaw after refusing to fight in the Argentine Civil War. He spent his time relieving the rich of their possessions and, er, redistributing them among the disadvantaged. He was also rumoured to have miraculous healing powers.

The legend goes that he was caught by police who tortured him, strung up by his ankles over a fire. Just before he was executed for desertion and thievery, Gauchito Gil said to the sergeant: “You are going to kill me now, but you will arrive in [the town of] Mercedes tonight at the same time as a letter of my pardon. In the letter they will also tell you that your son is dying of a strange illness. If you pray and beg me to save your child, I promise you that he will live. If not, he will die.” The jerk sergeant laughed, and killed Gil anyway.

When he got home, it was as Gil predicted: his son was dying, there was a letter of pardon waiting. Desperate, the sergeant did what the dead gaucho said, and his son was saved. To assuage his own guilt, the sergeant gave Gil a proper burial and erected a red cross as a shrine over his grave.

It’s unclear how much of this story is fact and how much is fable, but what is certain is how revered he is among Argentines despite not being recognised by the Church as a true saint. His death day – January 8, 1878 – is celebrated every year with feasts, and more than 100,000 devotees flock to his hometown of Pay Ubre. Every roadside in Argentina is punctuated with blood-red monuments (see above image), and (perhaps unsurprisingly), thieves and robbers pray to him before committing crimes, believing he’ll understand. As such, he’s become the Patron Saint of Thieves.

As the spiritual home of Malbec is Argentina, it makes sense for us to honour his memory the Bottle Shop Concepts way. We’ve also updated our branding (you may have noticed) to match.

MALBEC MAKERS: Bradley Ross, Red Wax Wines

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More MALBEC MAKERS but we prefer to call it Malbec Confessions!

Here we catch up with Bradley Ross from RED WAX wines. He’s showcasing a bunch of awesome Malbecs on the day, so we thought we’d pin him down and extract some juicy insights about all things wine.



Tell us your story!

The short version is that I was travelling through South America, got to Argentina and fell in love with Malbec. But the foundations were laid sometime before that. I was on the cusp of opening a bar in Perth, around the time of changes in small bar licensing laws in WA. I didn’t end up opening the bar, but the process taught me a bit about the liquor industry. Then I went travelling and ended up in Buenos Aires, bingeing on meat and Malbec. By chance, I happened to meet some key industry people while I was over there and it all came together from that. I now work with a local team in Perth, and we have built what we consider is the best portfolio of family-owned bodegas from Argentina. What started as an interest on a holiday in Argentina turned into a hobby, became a passion and is now an obsession.

Why Malbec?

Come to Gauchito Gil and find out!

Malbec is uniquely associated with Argentina and really evokes a sense of place. For the uninitiated, it appeals to the Australian palate because it is similar to the style of wine we grow – and drink – so well here, in particular Shiraz. It is generally fruit-driven with a bit of spice, without being overly tannic or acidic. It also has a romance about it that Argentina’s 200 plus years of winemaking history manages to bottle up and capture so well.

What has been your most ‘classic’ Argentine experience?

For me, it’s always about wine and food. Perhaps eating at a parilla while drinking Malbec.  A recent trip to Mendoza involving great food and wine with friends while overlooking the vines and the snow-capped Andes as a backdrop was pretty classic too.

Malbec is wine with Altitude. Discuss.

This is where the nerdy stuff comes out! Altitude is a winemaker’s friend.

Let’s start with the sun: The grape is closer to and gets more of the sun. This makes the skin thicker, which is where most of the flavour, colour and tannin come from.

The altitude also means that the air is purer and there is less humidity and a lower nighttime temperature.

Then the water: Uniquely, in Argentina (Mendoza specifically), the Andes block the clouds and rain from the Pacific Ocean and basically act to capture all this water for the winemaker to use.

Finally: The higher the vineyard, the lower the incidence of bugs and pests, which makes Malbec from Mendoza one of the most natural wine making processes in the world.

We like being high.

Can you remember your ‘first time’ with it?

I’d just arrived in Buenos Aires after the long haul from Perth and the first thing on my “to do” list was to try the winning combination of Argentinean meat and red wine I’d heard so much about. The restaurant closest to where I’d dropped off my bags was all dark wood and low lighting. I’ll never forget it. My first time!  I spent the rest of the week in Buenos Aires in a haze of Malbec.

Do you tango? Have you ever tried?

No. I tried and failed. Wish I could. I enjoy watching the passion of the dance.

What can we expect from you on the day?

A number of Malbecs from Mendoza which show a balance between the character of Argentine wine and the tastes of the Australian palate, so that we are able to provide Australian wine drinkers with an experience that is exotic yet accessible. The wineries we work with are mostly family-owned and show real passion from the cultivation of the grapes through to the production of the wine, with the result being unmistakable quality.  I’ve worked with these particular vineyards for many years and the wines really speak for themselves.

Finish this sentence .. ‘Malbec makes me …’

…justify my life choices.

What do you drink when no one’s watching?


Five minutes with… Tom Egan from Jed Wines

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Give us the short version of your story.

We’re three Aussies producing wine in Mendoza, Argentina. After study winemaking together and working vintages overseas, we discovered Malbec and Argentina and decided to have a crack at producing wine there.

Why make wine in Argentina? Wouldn’t it be easier in Australia?

Initially it was because we were blown away by the value for money that you could get with wine from Mendoza. But eventually we fell in love with the country, the people, the culture, the beef… and the Malbec.

What has been your most Argentine experience in Mendoza?

A toss-up between a family dinner that ended at 4:30am, and shopping for a barbecue and being told that we’d need to cater 750 grams of meat per person.

Malbec is wine with altitude. Discuss:

Yes, higher equals more UV light and more colour and aroma and silkier tannins. But it’s not just “the higher is better” it is that there are so many different combinations of altitude and longitude which creates potential for so many different expressions.

So, why Malbec?

When in Mendoza, what else are you going to do?! Plus, there is still SO much to explore with this variety in terms of production techniques, regions and styles. And it goes well with beef.

Can you remember your first time with it?

Honestly, not really. A bit like my other “first-time”…

Do you tango? Have you ever tried?

I have tried it, although I don’t think you could call what I was doing the Tango….

Finish this sentence: “Malbec makes me…”

….have purple teeth

What can we expect from you at Gauchito Gil’s Malbec Day? 

We’ve made some special “Malbec merch” for the big day, plus we’ll be showing a range of Malbec that we produce and import from across Mendoza and Argentina. Wine that we think best represents the regions, the people and the place.

What do you drink when no one’s watching?

Ummmm, that’s an easy one: BEER!


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That’s right, amigos, Gauchito Gil’s Malbec World Day is back for another year.

Gil has been busy scouring the globe for the finest, purest, most delicious Malbec he can find, and he’s bringing it all to you late April.

Here’s how the party will unfold:


Rock up to Cell Block Theatre from 1pm on Saturday April 22nd. We’ll give you an epic Plumm wine glass (to keep, valued at over $30) which you’ll use to taste and drink over 60 different Malbecs.

Porteno will be there frying empanadas, and Alfamores selling alfajores stuffed with dulce de leche. There will also be Argentinian beers, and, of course, lots and lots of tango.


Head over to Meat Market from 1pm on Sunday April 23rd. Collect your glass, then drink and dance. We’ve got Rockwell and Sons, Chicken-Helados-Empanadas, San Telmo, The Mill House, and Gertrude Street Enoteca on food, and because we love competition as much as you love pastry-wrapped meat, you’ll get to vote for your favourite empanada.

We’ve also got a team of professionals (food critics and editors from Good Food, delicious., Broadsheet, The Weekly Review, and more) ready to award the Golden Empanada trophy to their favourite, too.

A fun, full day of eating, drinking and dancing. Tango dress optional.

See you at the bar!

PS. Did we mention the Argentine Ambassador is coming???
P.P.S. Yes, the Crochet Empanada will be back as well!

MALBEC MAKERS: Sarah Crowe, Yarra Yering

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To say we’re a little excited to have team Yarra Yering with us this year is a gross understatement.

To have the the James Halliday Wine Companion 2017 Wine Maker of the Year as well, we may just explode empanada all over the place.

Yep, you read right, Yarra Yering will be with us (in both cities) for Malbec day and we cannot wait to try their new release, straight Malbec.

We had a quick catch up with Sarah to talk all things Malbec, tango and more.

Tell us your story!

I grew up on the NSW South Coast, Wollongong. A million miles from the nearest Malbec vine, or even a bottle probably.

My first profession was in Horticulture and from there it was a short leap of faith into Viticulture in the Hunter Valley. Still no Malbec in sight though. After 12 years in the Hunter Valley I moved to Victoria for the winemaking position at Yarra Yering. A dream job of the likes which is rarely advertised. I tell everyone I moved here to make Shiraz but finally I had some Malbec to play with!

Have you ever been to South America?

Nope. Would love to visit one day!

Why Malbec?

Originally planted here in 1969 as a blending component in our Bordeaux blend: Dry Red Wine No1. The first Yarra Yering straight Malbec was bottled in 1978 by Dr Carrodus. Since then, only in the years where the balance and ripeness are perfect, do we produce a straight bottling. The warmth leading into the 2016 harvest was perfect, ample ripeness shows in the signature inky colour and robust tannins.

Can you remember your ‘first time’? With Malbec that is!

I’m not one to tell tales.

Do you tango?

Never, but am willing to give it my all!

(Note: We now see this as a challenge so be sure to ask her for a dance on the day!)

Finish this sentence; ‘Malbec makes me …’


What can we expect from you on the day?

Bad tango, good vino

What do you drink when no one’s watching?

Herbal tea

MALBEC CONFESSIONS: Lucia Galdona, UnTapped Fine Wines

By | All About Malbec, Malbec Making Legends | 2 Comments

Welcome to the MALBEC CONFESSIONS where we catch up and talk to ‘those in the know’ about all things Malbec and more.

To kick us off, we catch up with the wonderful Lucia Galdona from UnTapped Fine Wines. Originally from Uruguay, she now calls Australia home.

Her intimate local knowledge of South America, wine, food and (let’s face it!), South American charm, is simply amazing. And… she can make a crochet empanada hat look cool, too.

We highly recommend making a beeline to the UnTapped Fine Wine stand on the day. Rumour has it they’ll have over 20 different Malbecs on tasting so you’ll get to know the variety in all of its forms.


Tell us your story!

I hail from Uruguay, a South American wine-producing country between Argentina and Brazil. A place where we drink a LOT of wine and a lot of MALBEC! I joined the Untapped Fine Wines team in 2011 and moved to Australia three years ago to share my passion about South American and Spanish wines.

Coming from South America, is there one thing you miss over here?

Dulce de leche and a good barbecue!

Why Malbec?

Why not? Have you tried it? It is just amazing!

Can you remember your ‘first time’? With Malbec that is!

At a family wedding, I stole a bottle with my cousins when our family was distracted and we struggled to open it – we did not know how to uncork the bottle and we had to ask for help! Our older cousins opened it and we drank it out of the bottle. I thought it was great, but I can’t remember what happened later that night… We did get in trouble the next day!

Do you tango?

I love to tango but I am terrible at it! I went to a few classes in Melbourne when I moved to Australia as I was missing the music and thought it would be good to not lose that connection… I need to get better at it, though!

Finish this sentence; ‘Malbec makes me …’

Want to go swimming in the ocean in the middle of the night.

What can we expect from you on the day?

Definitely a big smile as I will have a glass of Malbec in my hand…

What do you drink when no one’s watching?

Maté (A south American drink)… if I do it in a public space, people think I am getting high with a weird drug that tastes funny.


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Wow. Sydney, you guys know how to Malbec. Gauchito’s first visit to the city was an epic sellout. Who doesn’t love a sellout?

Was your face snapped by our sneaky photographer? Or just want to see what it was all about? Photos of the action are here for all your FOMO needs, and if you still need more, check out the crochet empanada escapades. Cripes you’re a good looking bunch, Sydney.

You, the people, have the final word on wine. You came. You tasted. You voted.
Said votes have been counted, and the winners of the PEOPLE’S CHOICE are….


1) Jed Limited Release Malbec 2013
2) Mairena Malbec 2013
3) Matchbox Wine Co. Malbec Joven 2014
4) Catena Malbec 2013
5) Vistalba Corte B 2012

The winner of the epic Plumm Flinders Decanter is the lucky KATE BROMLEY!


(If you can’t wait until next year, why not try the other red grapes at GAME OF RHONES)

Tom Egan, JED Wines


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Melbourne, you came, you drank, you ate and you voted.
We’ve counted all your votes, taken all your calls and read all your messages.
And the winners as voted BY YOU are…


1) ReWine – Three wise men – ‘the yearling’ Malbec
2) Catena Zapata Alta Malbec 2012
3) Jones Winery & Vineyard Malbec 2011
4) Catena Zapata Argentino Vineyard Malbec 2011
5) Jed Limited Release Malbec 2013


1) Piqueos: Lechona – marinated pork, crackling, rice, split peas and spice
2) The Mill House: The French Gauchito: Wagyu brisket 5 score, fois gras pochee, potatoes and truffle
3) Gertrude St Enoteca: Cumin spiced lamb empanadas with coriander chimichurri

The winner of the Plumm Flinders Decanter is the lucky Lucy Fitzpatrick.

Hasta next year Malbec lovers!

(If you can’t wait until next year, why not try the other red grapes at GAME OF RHONES)