Learn about Malbec — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originated in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it continued to flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. A French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. But it did not gain its current reputation as the country's national grape until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century.
Tasting Notes for Malbec
Malbec is a dry, red wine that typically expresses deep flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice, backed by aromas of freshly turned earth and dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, Malbec wine will be intensely ripe, and full of fruit and spice. From its homeland in Cahors, its rusticity shines; dusty notes and a beguiling bouquet of violets balance rich, black fruit.
Perfect Food Parings for Malbec
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 Secrets for Malbec
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.
- Cabernet Sauvignon95
- Bordeaux Red Blends75
- Pinot Noir55
- Other Red Blends34
- Rhône Blends22
- Tuscan Blends10
- Petite Sirah4
- Cabernet Franc3
- Other Red Wine2
- Nerello Mascalese2
- Nero d'Avola1
- Petit Verdot1
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