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Malbec

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture...

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

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  • Bodega Noemia de Patagonia J. Alberto 2014
    Malbec from Patagonia, Argentina
    • JS94
    • RP93
    • V93
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $39.99
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    55
    39 99
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  • El Enemigo Malbec 2012
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • WE93
    • WS92
    • V90
    Currently Unavailable $24.99
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    30
    24 99
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  • Recuerdo Aliado Malbec 2012
    Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
    • WS90
    Currently Unavailable $29.99
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    35
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  • Vina Cobos Bramare Lujan de Cuyo Malbec 2013
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • JS92
    • WS91
    • WE90
    Currently Unavailable $38.99
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    45
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  • Bodega Colome Estate Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Salta, Argentina
    • WS92
    • JS92
    • V92
    • RP91
    • WW91
    Currently Unavailable $25.99
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    25 99
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