Originally a French Bordeaux grape, Malbec was brought to Argentina in approximately 1853 by a Frenchman. In France it was predominantly used as a blending grape, but in Argentina Malbec is the signature varietal. This is largely due to the climate which helps bring out the full expression of the grape. The Malbec grape struggled in France. There it was susceptible to disease, mildew and frost. Once it was brought to Argentina, however, Malbec has had a very different fortune. The grapes thrive in Mendoza due to the dry climate, abundance of sunshine and the high altitude. Although the fifth largest producer of wine in the world, Argentina is the third largest wine exporter in the world. The country has over 1,300 wineries that cover almost 500,000 acres of land. And Malbec is its signature varietal.