Though its roots go deep in France and its origins might be traced to ancient Rome, the malbec grape has become identified with Argentina. It was brought there in the mid-19th century, where it became the country’s dominant red varietal. Dr. Laura Catena — a physician, the managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata, the founder of Catena Institute of Wine and a fourth generation member of the Catena Zapata family in Mendoza — has written a lively illustrated book, “Malbec Mon Amour,” with Alejandro Vigil, the wine director at the family’s winery. It offers general yet detailed information about winemaking and malbec history; describes grape cultivation, terroir and the effects of climate change; explains the specific characteristics of malbec and why it’s suited to conditions in Argentina, notably in the Cuyo region including Mendoza; and tells the story of the Catena Zapata family. For the professional, characteristics of the many Catena Zapata vineyards might be of interest.
“Malbec Mon Amour” by Laura Catena and Alejandro Vigil (Catapulta Editores, $24.99).