An Overview of Malbec Wines

Malbec grapes
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Originating from the Bordeaux region of France, the Malbec (pronounced Mahl-Beck, and also knowns as "Cot" in France, is among the "big six" for red wine grapes. However, with the exception of in Cahors, its fame and fortune in France often end there, as Malbec is generally a grape used for blending, with very little vine being devoted to its improvement or success. The story in Argentina is quite the opposite.

Malbec has found fame and glory in the sun-drenched climate of Argentina. This is Argentina's signature grape, and it is quickly gaining a lofty status for itself with red wine lovers. While South Africa, Australia, Chile, and the United States also successfully grow Malbec grapes, the output from those nations is nowhere near the same capacity as Argentina's Malbecs.

Malbec Flavor Profile

Malbec is typically a medium to full-bodied, dry red wine with plenty of acidity and relatively high tannin and alcohol levels. Dark, inky purple color profiles and ripe flavors of plums, black cherry, and blackberry can give this wine a decidedly jammy character. Smoke, earth, leather, wild game, tobacco and white and black pepper along with a slew of other high-profile spices can make for an interesting medley of aromas and flavors, adding to layers of complexity and distinctive food pairing profiles.

Malbec Food Pairings

Definitely a red-meat wine, Malbec is adaptable enough to stand up to spicy Mexican, Cajun, Indian, Thai, or Italian fare, with preference given to barbecue, spices and sometimes hard to pair meat-driven dishes, Malbec is extremely food-friendly and ultra accommodating. Consider giving Malbec a go with any of your favorite beef, game, lamb, chili, stews, mushrooms, sausage and barbecue sauces.

When you think versatility, think Malbec.

The Perfect Glass

While a red wine glass will be more than adequate, you can show off your good taste with a special Malbec glass, designed to show off the wine's distinctive qualities. The Malbec glass, introduced in 2013, features a wide bowl and a smaller rim. One thing to remember though is to serve your Malbec at slightly below room temperature. If you don't have a wine refrigerator, don't sweat it. Just put your bottle in your fridge for about half an hour, uncork it, serve.and savor, either alone or with special friends.You can't go wrong.

Malbec is typically sold as a dry, red wine varietal and labeled as such, although it is also found in blends (often to add color), as a rosé, and even sparkling and dessert Malbecs can be found with a little effort. 

Key Malbec Producers to Try

Many wineries make delicious, wallet-friendly Malbec wines that are distributed worldwide. With a reputation for providing exceptional quality to price ratios, this red wine varietal is on the rise in international markets, but the U.S. is by far the No. 1 Malbec importer. Malbec makers include some internationally recognized wineries, including:

  • Don Miguel Gascon