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In the mid nineteenth century the Governor of Mendoza engaged a French Agronomist to bring a selection of new grapevine cultivars from France to Argentina, creating a training ground for teaching viticulture with the aim of improving the quality of local wines. One of those varieties was Malbec, now the signature variety of the nation.
These vines were exported immediately before the great phylloxera epidemic, and the particular selection of Malbec which was shipped is now believed to be extinct in Europe. It has subsequently evolved over the last century and a half into clones which are distinctly different from their French forebears.
In the late twentieth century Arthur Bruce Chalmers imported a selection of grapevine cultivars from around the world to Australia in an effort to broaden vineyard diversity and improve wine quality by clonal selection. In that shipment were six clones of Malbec, selected from the best vineyards of Mendoza.
Arturo Heathcote Malbec is made at the Chalmers Merben winery. Each vintage the wine is made as a co-fermentation of varying ratios of those special clones, grown on the unique Cambrian terroir of the Mount Camel Range in Heathcote.
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