Although cultivated worldwide, malbec is most commonly grown in Argentina, southwest France, the Bordeaux region of France, and California. In the vineyard, malbec is highly susceptible to frost, mildew and rot, which can pose great stress for the winemakers who grow it.
- 1 What country is Malbec wine from?
- 2 Is all Malbec wine from Argentina?
- 3 Where is the best Malbec from?
- 4 Is Malbec a French wine?
- 5 Is Malbec French or Argentinian?
- 6 Is Argentina located in Europe?
- 7 Is Malbec oaked?
- 8 Why is Malbec so popular in Argentina?
- 9 What wine is from Argentina?
- 10 Is Malbec the healthiest wine?
- 11 Which is better Malbec or Merlot?
- 12 Is Malbec a cheap wine?
- 13 Where is Tempranillo grown?
- 14 How did Malbec get to Argentina?
- 15 What is the wine region of France?
- 16 Malbec Wine 101: What It Tastes Like and What To Pair It With
- 17 What Is Malbec Wine?
- 18 Fun Facts About Malbec Wine
- 19 Where Does the Malbec Grape Grow?
- 20 What Does Malbec Wine Taste Like?
- 21 How To Pair Malbec Wine
- 22 How To Serve Malbec Wine
- 23 Malbec: Argentina’s Pride and Joy
- 24 What is Malbec Wine? 4 Amazing Facts About Malbec
- 25 Malbec Wine Guide
- 25.1 Malbec Tasting Notes by Region ARGENTINA:The main fruit flavors in a glass of Argentine Malbec are blackberry, plum, and black cherry. The nuanced flavors offer milk chocolate, cocoa powder, violet flowers, leather, and, depending on the amount ofoak aging, a sweet tobacco finish.FRANCE:While Argentine Malbec is fruit forward, Malbec from France is quite the opposite. From the Cahors region, it is leathery, with flavors of tart currant, black plum, and savory bitterness often described asgreenat the start. French Malbecs, from the Loire and Cahors, have higher acidity, which attributes to flavors described as black pepper and spice. Because of their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol, French Malbec wines tend toage longer.
- 26 Malbec Food Pairing
- 27 Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec
- 28 Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec
- 29 The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine
- 29.1 Malbec in 60 Seconds:
- 29.2 French Evolution: The Origins of Malbec
- 29.3 Why Malbec Thrives In Argentina
- 29.4 Why High Altitude Malbec Is So Great
- 29.5 Thirst for Knowledge
- 29.6 Quality Through Science
- 29.7 + A Taste of Argentina: The Best Malbec Food Pairings from the VinePair Team
- 30 Learn About Malbec, The Popular Red Wine (UPDATED 2020)
- 31 Malbec Wines: Blending Drinkability and Affordability
- 32 Malbec vs. Merlot
- 33 Taste and Flavor Profile
- 34 Grapes and Wine Regions
- 35 Food Pairings
- 36 Key Producers, Brands, and Buying Tips
- 37 Wine for Beginners: What to Expect From My Glass of Malbec
- 38 Malbec Wine Flavor at a Glance
- 39 Where is Malbec Wine From?
- 40 When Should You Drink Malbec?
- 41 A Short Guide to Argentine Malbec
- 42 Pick a mix, or try all six
- 43 Three Countries, Three Views, Three Malbecs
- 44 Cahors: The Original Malbec
- 45 The Rising Star of Washington Malbec
- 46 Malbec Regions
- 47 Malbec flavors
- 48 Malbec viticulture
- 49 Malbec synonyms
- 50 Food pairings for Malbec
What country is Malbec wine from?
However, while 75% of the world’s Malbec comes from Argentina, Malbec originated from France and is produced in a number of other countries across the world. This doesn’t mean that it is an easily adaptable grape. The small Malbec grapes are deeply affected by the environment in which they are grown.
Is all Malbec wine from Argentina?
France is the place of origin of Malbec, but Argentina is now home to nearly 70% of the Malbec vineyards of the world. Thus, your very first taste of Malbec could have been from Mendoza, Argentina.
Where is the best Malbec from?
Although malbec originated in France, it’s more likely to be associated with Argentina, the country that produces the lion’s share of the world’s malbec and is credited with its resurging popularity.
Is Malbec a French wine?
Malbec (sometimes called Côt and Auxxerois) is from France, where it grows in the Sud-Ouest. The thick-skinned grape is a natural cross of two esoteric varieties that are from Montpellier (in Languedoc-Roussilon) and Gaillac in the Sud-Ouest.
Is Malbec French or Argentinian?
While the Malbec grape originated in France (in the Cahors region), the Argentinian Malbec is the most celebrated. The two taste very different — while an Argentinian bottle is plummy and soft in texture, a French bottle is quite tart and savory.
Is Argentina located in Europe?
Argentina, country of South America, covering most of the southern portion of the continent.
Is Malbec oaked?
Malbec is a blending grape in Red Bordeaux Blends. Less oak than you might think. Malbec is so fruity and smooth, it often doesn’t need as much oak-aging. Affordable Malbec wines may only get 4–6 months in oak whereas, top-shelf Malbec get as much as 18–20 months in oak.
Why is Malbec so popular in Argentina?
One reason why Malbec is so popular, is because it is produced in 7 different countries: Malbec is most commonly grown in Argentina, due to the declining growth in France, with 76,000 hectares of vineyards. Malbec produces red wines with medium acidity and medium tannins.
What wine is from Argentina?
Argentina has a rich wine history, with the country producing an endless array of different wines such as Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, and Malbec. Out of all of the wines that Argentina produces, it is perhaps best known for creating the best Malbecs in the entire world.
Is Malbec the healthiest wine?
Malbec. As an especially thick-skinned variety, Malbec claims higher antioxidant levels than other red wines especially in terms of resveratrol. This variety has two to four times the amount of anti-inflammatory, health boosting antioxidants than other popular red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Which is better Malbec or Merlot?
Malbec has a velvety taste, and its medium tannins lead to an elegant, smooth finish. For those who prefer dry red wines, Malbec has a suitably high level of tannins with medium acidity. In contrast, Merlot tends to be sweeter. The preference comes down to pallet, the occasion and what dishes will accompany the wine.
Is Malbec a cheap wine?
Malbec is so popular because not only is it affordable but it’s easy to drink, it’s a perfect pair to many different types of food, and it’s a crowd pleaser. If you’re looking an affordable, delicious alternative to the usual Merlot of Cabernet Sauvignon you should give Malbec a try!
Where is Tempranillo grown?
Tempranillo originated in the Iberian Peninsula and the vast majority of plantings are still in Spain, although it is also an essential component of the Port wines of Portugal. Tempranillo has spread to Spanish-influenced new world wine regions like Mexico and California.
How did Malbec get to Argentina?
Malbec was one of a number of vines introduced into Argentina in 1868 by Miguel Pouget, a French agronomist who had been hired to help improve the country’s wines. It seems the particular clone he brought over has since disappeared in France. In Argentina it was almost too easy to grow.
What is the wine region of France?
The 17 wine regions of France are as follows: Alsace, Armagnac and Cognac, Beaujolais and Lyonnais, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc, Lorraine, Poitou-Charentes, Provence, Roussillon, Savoie and Bugey, South-West, Loire Valley, and the Rhône Valley.
Malbec Wine 101: What It Tastes Like and What To Pair It With
Opening a bottle of Malbec at a dinner party might give the impression that you’re that hip wine enthusiast who likes to venture off the beaten road. While Malbec is a well acclaimed wine across the world, it is not near as well-known or popular as Merlot or Pinot Noir — but that will not deter us from enjoying it. Malbec wine, known for its rich purple color and spicy, savory aromas, is an excellent choice for individuals who want robustly flavored wines with a lot of body. Malbec wine may pique your curiosity, but do you know what it is about their tastes that makes them so enticing?
What Is Malbec Wine?
Malbec wine is distinguished by its rich purple hue and full-bodied flavor. Malbec grapes are tiny and dark in color, with thick skins that produce a wine with rich fruity flavors and medium tannin levels. Malbec grapes are small and dark in color, with thick skins that produce a wine with rich fruity flavors and medium tannin levels. It is common for Malbec wines to contain more alcohol than Merlot or Pinot Noir. If you’re attempting to cut back on your alcohol consumption, be on the lookout for this alcoholic bottle, which may contain up to 15 percent ABV in some cases.
Malbec grapes thrive in warm, sunny regions with brisk nighttime temperatures.
Malbec is a popular blending grape in Bordeaux, France, where it is grown in large quantities.
Fun Facts About Malbec Wine
- Malbec wine is one of the most popular red wines in the United States, and it is produced in Argentina. Malbec is the fourth most popular red wine in the world, behind only Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In France, Malbec is referred to as Côt. Côt is French for “coast,” and it is believed that the grape Malbec acquired its name from a Hungarian farmer with the last name of Malbec or Malbeck who disseminated the grape all across France
- Côt is French for “coast.” The grape Malbec is most commonly associated with the production of red wine, but there is also a famous rosé type that is crisp, fresh, and floral in flavor
- April 17 is International Malbec Day. Another cause to celebrate wine has been added to your calendar
- Mark it down.
Where Does the Malbec Grape Grow?
Argentina’s Malbec is linked with the country. Malbec was considered a low-quality grape before Argentina began cultivating it in the 18th century, and it was mostly used for blending purposes prior to that time period. In Argentina’s vineyards today, the Malbec grape accounts for three quarters of total plantings and is often regarded as the country’s most significant crop. A variety of Malbec grapes were planted in France (in the Cahors area), but it is Argentinian Malbec that has become the most famous.
The two bottles taste quite different.
All of these places are ideal for cultivating Malbec grapes due to the fact that the vineyards are located at high altitudes and receive ample of sunlight.
In fact, in the mid-1950s, the whole French crop was on the verge of being lost owing to poor weather conditions. Malbec may also be found growing in other parts of the world, but in much lesser quantities:
- California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand are among the states represented.
What Does Malbec Wine Taste Like?
While we’ve established that French and Argentine Malbecs taste very different from one another, they do share certain characteristics in common. In addition to its jammy fruit tastes, Malbec is recognized for its savory overtones that are present in high concentrations. Some of these are as follows: Warm-climate Malbecs, such as those made in Argentina, South Africa, or Australia, have dark fruit flavors such as blackberry and plum that complement the wine. Wines from cooler climates, such as those produced in France, have a more concentrated black cherry flavor with undertones of raspberry.
They have a low acid content yet a high amount of structure.
How To Pair Malbec Wine
In common with many other red wines, Malbec wine goes well with meat, particularly red meat. In contrast to its red wine siblings (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), it does not have a very lengthy finish, making it easy to overpower when served with fatty foods. Instead, look for lean cuts of meat such as beef, turkey, or even ostrich to eat. If you’re a vegetarian looking for the perfect Malbec food pairing, blue cheese is a great choice. In addition to a cheese board or grilled blue cheese sandwich, a blue cheese souffle would be a delectable dessert choice for a dinner party.
The key to combining Malbec with food is to keep in mind the peppery characteristics that it has on the palate.
Make liberal use of olive oil to help balance out the tannic quality of the wine.
How To Serve Malbec Wine
It is not usually the case that red wine is served at room temperature, contrary to common assumption. Malbec wine is no exception to this rule. Try putting the Malbec in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving wine to guests. This should bring the wine down to just below room temperature, allowing you to appreciate the full depth of flavor that Malbec has to offer. Because Malbec is a full-bodied wine, it is best served in a large-bowl glass. In a big glass with a wide mouth, you will be able to appreciate the strong fruity scents of the Malbec, while the small glass will soften the spicy tasting notes and balance the savory flavors.
Pour your bottle of wine into a decanter and set it aside for 30 minutes before serving it to your guests.
Malbec: Argentina’s Pride and Joy
Even though Malbec wine is considered a minor grape varietal by European winemakers, Argentina has successfully cultivated the grape variety. It’s not difficult to understand why, given the robust body, wonderfully fruity aromas, and distinctive purple color of this brew. While French Malbecs can be fairly sour (and are more difficult to come by than Argentine Malbecs), they form great mixes with other wines. Bordeaux blends, which combine Malbec with other Bordeaux-grown grapes to provide delectable lighter choices, should be on your radar.
Remember to serve it with lean red meats, creamy blue cheese, or spicy vegetable dishes to get the most flavor out of it.
Malbec has fought its way back from the brink of extinction in France to make an astonishing recovery around the globe. Throughout the year, we’ll be toasting to this wonderful bottle of wine.
What is Malbec Wine? 4 Amazing Facts About Malbec
What is Malbec Wine, and where can I find it? Argentinean Malbec is a full-bodied red wine that is produced primarily in the country. Malbec wine, which is distinguished by its rich, black berry notes and smokey finish, is a terrific value when compared to more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Malbec, on the other hand, is more than simply a good bargain. Discover the mysteries of Malbec wine, as well as some excellent Malbec meal match suggestions, as well as four astounding facts that will forever alter your perception of this ‘lowly’ wine grape.
Malbec Wine Guide
FOOD: Black cherry, Pomengranate, Plum, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raisin, and a variety of others Coffee, Mocha, Molasses, Leather, Black Pepper, Green Stem, Gravel and Tobacco are some of the other flavors you may find. OAK: Vanilla, Dill, Coconut, Chocolate, and Mocha are some of the flavors you’ll find in this blend. ACID:Medium TANNIN:Medium “Slightly Cool” is the temperature setting. 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) Alternate varietals: Syrah, Dolcetto, Touriga Nacional, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Bonarda, Lacrima di Moro d’Alba, Nero d’Alba, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon (see otherfull-bodied red wines) BLENDS: This wine is frequently blended with Merlot and Petit Verdot in the Right Bank of Bordeaux.
Malbec Tasting Notes by Region ARGENTINA:The main fruit flavors in a glass of Argentine Malbec are blackberry, plum, and black cherry. The nuanced flavors offer milk chocolate, cocoa powder, violet flowers, leather, and, depending on the amount ofoak aging, a sweet tobacco finish.FRANCE:While Argentine Malbec is fruit forward, Malbec from France is quite the opposite. From the Cahors region, it is leathery, with flavors of tart currant, black plum, and savory bitterness often described asgreenat the start. French Malbecs, from the Loire and Cahors, have higher acidity, which attributes to flavors described as black pepper and spice. Because of their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol, French Malbec wines tend toage longer.
FOOD: Black cherry, Pomegranate, Plum, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raisin, and other fruits Coffee, Mocha, Molasses, Leather, Black Pepper, Green Stem, Gravel and Tobacco are some of the other flavors you may have. OAK: Vanilla, dill, coconut, chocolate, and mocha are some of the flavors you’ll find in this blend. ACID:Medium TANNIN:Medium “Slightly Cool” is the current temperature. temperatures of 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and above Alternate varietals: Syrah, Dolcetto, Touriga Nacional, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Bonarda, Lacrima di Moro d’Alba, Nero d’Alba, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon (see otherfull-bodied red wines) BLENDS: This wine is frequently blended with Merlot and Petit Verdot in the Right Bank of Bordeaux region of France.
Malbec Food Pairing
Those who enjoy umami will appreciate that Malbec does not have a very lingering aftertaste, in contrast to Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, Malbec pairs very well with leaner red meats (ostrich, anyone?). The wine pairs exceptionally well with edgy tastes such as blue cheese as well as rustic flavors such as mushrooms and cumin spices. The ideal food pairing for Malbec is black pepper buffalo burgers with blue cheese mushrooms and rosemary infused garlic kale chips (see recipe below). Oh, it sounds delectable!
Mikko Kuhna contributed to this report.
Dark meat poultry and lean red meat are recommended.
Malbec is also a good match with earthy tastes, such as those found in beef brisket. Duck, chicken leg, lamb, cattle, ostrich, buffalo, and hog shoulder are some of the other meats that are highly recommended.
Spices and Herbs:
For earthy or smoky flavors, look for spices like parsley, sumac, thyme, rosemary, porcini powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, juniper, clove, vanilla bean and garlic. Other ingredients to consider are barbecue sauce and shallots; if you don’t have any of these, make your own with a little bit of ketchup and mustard.
Look for cheeses that are tangy and creamy, ranging from soft to semi-firm cow’s and goat’s milk.
All of the following foods pair exceptionally well with Malbec: mushroom, roasted vegetables, green and red bell peppers, potato (with or without skin), arugula (with or without leaves), kale (with or without leaves), chard (with or without leaves), onion, beet, tempeh, lentils, black beans, and forbidden rice. If you were sitting at home drinking coffee and looking out your window, this would be the scene. Tunuyán in Mendoza, Argentina, captured by Mario Mantel on film.
Malbec Wine Regions
Only over 100,000 acres of Malbec have been planted in total across the world. Argentina 76,700 acres are available for purchase. Mendoza, San Juan, and Salta are among the destinations. France has 15,000 acres of land. Sud-Ouest, Bordeaux, Loire Valley (in Loire, this is referred to as Côte) 3,400 acres in the United States California, Washington, and Oregon are among the states that have ratified the treaty. Chile has a total land area of 2,500 acres. Colchagua, Curicó, and Cachapoal are all indigenous names.
South Australia and Victoria are two of the most populous states in Australia.
200 hectares Gisborne is located in the Hawkes Bay region.
Up Next: Mastering Mendoza Malbec
In order to better grasp how to discover high-quality wines, let’s dissect the characteristics of Mendoza’s Malbec varietal. Sources for the Guide can be found here. In Gaillac, France, prunelardis were discovered. Montpellier, France is the location of La Magdeleine de Charentesis. The Malbec Guide may be found at www.wineaustralia.com. Wine Variety Plantings may be seen on the website winesofargentina.com. Charlie Hoppes, the winemaker at Fidelitas, estimates that there are 600 acres of Malbec planted in Washington State.
Learn the Difference: Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec
Although Malbec originated in France, Argentina is currently home to approximately 70% of the world’s Malbec vineyards, making it the country with the most Malbec production. As a result, it’s possible that your very first taste of Malbec came from Mendoza, Argentina. Due to the fact that Malbec exhibits the effects of terroir on wine, there is a significant difference in flavor between the two places.
Argentinian Malbec vs. French Malbec
All of the geographical characteristics that influence the flavor of a wine grape, including sun, soil, the slope of a hillside, the proximity to a body of water, climate, weather, and altitude are considered to be part of the Terroire.
Terroir occurs even before the grapes are picked by a winemaker and turned into wine. Any reputable winemaker will tell you that great wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar, and that this is true. Find out more about Terroir.
Malbec taste by region
- Argentina Malbec is a fruit-forward, plummy wine with a velvety texture and a fruity aroma. French Malbec is savory, acidic, and full of strong tannins, with flavors of plum, meat, and blackberry.
This wildly popular cultivar has become household name owing to its origins in Argentina, but it retains a strong presence in the southwest French region where it originated. Two wines made from the same grape but with vastly distinct characteristics. A Malbec from Argentina is often plump and fruity, with a velvety soft body and a velvety smooth mouthfeel. It is believed that in France, Malbec is characterized by more structure, harder tannins, and an inky black, brooding flavor. Purchase the book and receive the course!
Read on to find out more
Why does Malbec showTerroirbetter than other grapes?
Cahors, France, is home to a Malbec vineyard with limestone soils. source This thin-skinned “black grape” is a rustic cousin of Merlot, and as such, it shares the latter’s susceptibility to rot, cold, and insect infestations. In order to produce the best possible product, it is critical to have optimal growth conditions. For a plant to survive, it needs enough of sunlight and a dry atmosphere to flourish. Wines that receive too much sunlight, on the other hand, will become flabby fruit bombs with no structure (alcoholic soda pop, anyone?) In a nutshell, Malbec is a temperamental vine that is particularly sensitive to the temperature.
Wine grapes such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Malbec, and Sangiovese absorb the flavors and aromas of their surroundings.
Learn more about the Malbec grape.
Limestone gives Malbec high tannin and color
Wine from the limestone soils of the Cahors area is the darkest and most tannic expression of Malbec, with notes of blackberry fruit in its youth and notes of tobacco, coffee, and meaty notes as it matures. This is mainly due to the calcium component of limestone, which aids in the preservation of acidity late into the growing season for the grape and adds to the formation of structure in the glass. Vines grow in the Causses, a dry limestone plateau with a thin topsoil that compels the vines’ roots to reach deep into the ground in search of nutrition.
Sunshine gives Malbec a fruitiness
Argentina’s winemaking region of Mendoza, where 70% of the country’s wine is produced (mainly Malbec), has even sunnier and dryer weather. A deep and strong wine with brambly black mountain fruit and sweet floral notes is produced at the foot of the Andes, where the grape is grown. A lack of rain, early summer hail, and a strong storm known as the Zonda push the vines here to dig deep into the alluvial sand and clay soils that have developed over time from mineral deposits left by snow melt flowing down the Andes.
The sand helps to ensure proper drainage, which is critical in preventing rot from forming.
Mount Aconcagua, with a summit elevation of more than 23,000 feet, is the highest mountain in the Americas.
The grapes have the opportunity to develop full, ripe, fruity flavors while still retaining enough acidity to prevent the soda-pop effect from occurring.
The large temperature differences between day and night contribute to the enhancement of this ripeness/acidity tango. Because of the prolonged exposure to a more stronger sun that high altitude gives, the resultant wine exhibits riper and fruitier characteristics.
A lil’ history of Malbec’s Origins
Vineyards along the Lot River near Cahors, France.source For years, Malbec served as a supporting player in Bordeaux blends, but its sensitivity caused it to underperform on a number of occasions. Malbec has performed exceptionally well in southwest France, notably in the Cahors appellation, which is located farther up the Garonne River from Bordeaux. The cold winds from the Atlantic help to keep the vines free of rot, while the mild daytime temperatures and Mediterranean influence help the grapes to mature properly.
a little about the author Kate Soto is the manager of winegoddess.com, a wine retail company in Evanston, Illinois, that also offers wine seminars, a wine club, and special events for its customers.
The Evolution of Malbec, Argentina’s Signature Wine
It’s impossible to find a grape that appeals to everyone’s taste buds, but if we had to pick one, we’d go with Malbec because of its versatility. With its fruit-forward flavor, full-bodied body, and silky tannins, it’s impossible to resist the allure of Malbec, and the versatile variety is not only a simple, elegant accompaniment to a hearty meal (think skirt steak or beef stew), but it’s also a wonderful wine to enjoy on its own as well.
Malbec in 60 Seconds:
- When it comes to a red Bordeaux mix, Malbec is one of six grapes that can be included. In today’s globe, Argentina produces more than 75% of the Malbec consumed worldwide. Since 2000, the number of Malbec vines planted in Argentina has climbed by 171 percent. Eighty-five percent of Argentina’s Malbec plantings are located in Mendoza, with the best expressions coming from the higher altitude sub-regions.
However, despite the fact that Malbec has its (actual) origins in France, it was Argentina that was responsible for introducing this beautiful grape to the globe, and it has since become the country’s flagship varietal. As a result of pioneers such as Nicolás Catena Zapata of Argentina’s Catena Zapata, who advanced Malbec to the next level through research, experimentation, and the discovery and exploration of new types of terroir, Malbec has become an international sensation, and has become a national favorite in the United States.
French Evolution: The Origins of Malbec
Malbec is a 2,000-year-old grape varietal that is brimming with history and tradition. Malbec is thought to have originated in Cahors, France, when it was discovered by Roman troops travelling through the area. It is now grown around the world. As time went on, the wine became a favorite of prominent personalities like as Eleanor of Aquitaine and, later, Francis I, who referred to Malbec as les plantes du roi (“the king’s plants”) because of its dark color. Throughout France, from Fontainebleau to Burgundy, he had the vineyards planted by his order.
In the late 19th century, when phylloxera (a grapevine’s insect enemy) decimated vineyards across Europe, French growers were forced to start over.
As time progressed and the wines created from these other grapes acquired international recognition, Malbec, though still widely planted in various parts of its homeland, never quite achieved the same level of success.
One of our favorite wines, the Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, depicts this thousand-year history of Malbec on its label — which includes a representation of Eleanor of Aquitaine — as well as the grape’s quite different (and successful!) experience on the other side of the world.
Why Malbec Thrives In Argentina
Agronomist Michel Pouget was hired by the Argentine wine industry to help them find a grape that would improve the quality of their wines in the 1850s. He imported a variety of vines from France, including Malbec, to the country and advised them on their selection. It was in Argentina’s hilly topography that the grape found its ideal home, and the experiment proved to be a greater success than the winemakers had anticipated. Mendoza, the throbbing center of Argentina’s wine industry, is home to Malbec vineyards that have not only survived, but thrived.
Argentina’s claim to wine renown has grown with the advent of Malbec, with producers like as Catena Zapata —which was just awarded the world’s most admired wine brand— and their wines gaining international acclaim.
Why High Altitude Malbec Is So Great
Argentina has a diverse range of terroirs, but when talking about Argentine Malbec, it’s impossible to talk about it without discussing the not-so-secret weapon that has contributed to its success: the high heights of the Andes. With an average height ranging from 2,000 to 3,600 feet above sea level in the Andean foothills of Mendoza, vineyards are located high above sea level throughout the region. In this environment, the delicate, thin-skinned Malbec grape, which thrives in chilly, dry areas and requires enough of sunshine to completely mature, has a far higher chance of surviving and flourishing.
As a result, Nicolás Catena Zapata set his sights (and his goals!) on these tremendous heights, not only growing grapes at the typical Mendoza elevations, but also making it his mission to raise the standard for Malbec production — all the way up to 5,000 feet above sea level, to be precise.
Laura Catena and her father, Nicolás Catena Zapata, pose for a photograph.
Thirst for Knowledge
The family-owned winery has been in operation since 1902, but when Nicolás took over as manager in the mid-’60s, a new period of experimentation was inaugurated. History has been divided into three revolutions, each of which has seen the discovery and application of new methods and knowledge, the attainment of new milestones — and altitudes! — and the production of a wonderful array of excellent wines. Since that time, history has been divided into three revolutions. For example, the limited-production Catena Alta single varietals include the first super-premium variety Malbecto to be sold internationally from Argentina, as well as the first super-premium varietal Cabernet Sauvignon.
However, while many winemakers were unconvinced that Malbec would thrive in this environment, Nicolás’ bold (albeit extremely well-informed) gamble on the terroir’s potential paid out handsomely.
Quality Through Science
As the popularity of Argentina’s malbo wine has grown in recent years, as has the quality of the wine produced by Catena Zapata, the Catena family’s never-ending search for development is carried on through the Catena Institute of Wine, which was formed by Nicolás Catena’s daughter Dr. Laura Catena. While working at the vineyard as a fourth-generation winemaker and managing director, Laura also has a background in medicine and biology. Her ambition is to use research to further our understanding of Mendoza’s high-altitude terroir and all that it has to offer.
+ A Taste of Argentina: The Best Malbec Food Pairings from the VinePair Team
Three of our editors were given the opportunity to partake in a Catena wine tasting, which was guided by Laura. (The chat took place virtually; the wine, on the other hand, did not.) Here are some of the key insights and recommendations from our lucky team members, who each brought a different bottle of Catena Malbec into their separate kitchens and created some delicious combinations for the red wine:
Jason Russell onCatena Alta Malbec 2016:
VinePair’s Jason Russell is enjoying a glass of Catena Alta Malbec 2016. When I listened to Laura explain about the history of the region, the company, and the wine, it became evident that I wanted to match the Catena Alta with a beef meal in order to maximize on the wine’s powerful characteristics. Originally, I had planned to make a classic steak with chimichurri, but I changed my mind and went for braised short ribs instead. The reason behind this is as follows: It is evident in Catena’s wine that they are deeply committed to their family, and this recipe is perfect for a dinner with family or a get-together with friends.
When the meat is taken out of the oven, it is soft and juicy, and it slides right off the bone.
Tim McKirdy onCatena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2017:
“After learning about the history of this wine and its label, I was inspired to match Catena’s Argentino Malbec with empanadas, which are a simple yet iconic Argentine staple.” I’m the sort of cook who gets a kick out of completing a job, especially for supper on Saturday nights. Open the bottle early, allow it to breathe for a few minutes, and enjoy a glass or two while prepping the meal. I knew I was in for a treat when I tasted the layers of fruit and minerals in this wine, which reflect the distinctive terroir of Mendoza’s Valle de Uco.
The pairing did not disappoint: the abundant acidity and nice tannins of the wine were the ideal complement to the crispy cooked empanada dough and the soft spiced beef stuffing contained within the empanada shell.
Malbec has earned its reputation as a wine that pairs well with food for a reason. “However, when the bottle is this exceptional, matching wine with something as basic as empanadas truly allows its complexity to come to the forefront.”
Katie Brown onCatena Malbec 2018:
“I’d always thought of Malbec as a huge steak wine, and because I’ve been a pescatarian since I was seven years old, I wasn’t sure what to match it with. Laura’s presentation, on the other hand, let me understand that Malbec goes well with a wide range of meals, from tamales to a Milanese. I chose to combine Catena’s High Mountain Vines Malbec with shrimp paella because I believed the dish’s richness would be able to stand up to the Malbec’s tannic acidity and complexity. This match demonstrates that Malbec may be paired with a wide variety of foods rather than just red meat.
Katie Brown’s seafood paella recipe, along with Catena Malbec 2018, is a perfect pairing.
We are looking forward to sharing a wonderful lunch and a wonderful wine with the other women in my family who reside all over the nation.” Catena Wines has provided sponsorship for this publication.
Learn About Malbec, The Popular Red Wine (UPDATED 2020)
Known for its affordability and accessible, luscious fruit tastes, Malbec is a dry red wine that is popular among the general public. While Malbec has had a resurgence in popularity over the past two decades, it has actually been used as a blending grape in France for more than a century. However, it is the Argentine term (with which most people are aware) that has gained widespread recognition across the world.
Malbec in France
France is the home of the Malbec wine grape, which may be found in both blends and single-vineyard varietal styles. While Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the two most important grapes in the red Bordeaux mix, Malbec is one of four extra grapes that can be used to make the blend more complex. It is generally less than 2 percent of the whole mix, even when it is included in the recipe. For a long time, Malbec was a popular grape variety in the region. However, when a severe frost killed away a substantial percentage of the Malbec plants in 1956, Merlot and Cabernet Francwere utilized in their stead as replacements.
Cahors, in the south-west of France, is the only location in the country that produces varietal Malbec wines.
Cigar, cedar, and earth notes may be found in most expressions that have been aged in oak.
Malbec in Argentina
A group of Argentine winemakers approached French agronomic Michel Pouget in the mid-nineteenth century for his recommendations on which grape they should plant to increase the quality of Argentine wine. The vine he advised was Malbec, which was first planted in the country in 1855. Many winemakers were persuaded by his idea that Malbec was intended to be grown in Argentina from the beginning. The vines flourished in the hot temperature and high altitude of the region, displaying none of the vulnerabilities that they had in their native France.
Even though the quality of wine improved over time as a result of the advent of modern winemaking processes, American consumers had little understanding of what they were drinking.
Argentine Malbec, with its inexpensive price tag and accessible flavor, was only fully appreciated by American wine lovers in the early 2000s.
How Malbec from Argentina Differs from Cahors
Malbec from Argentina’s high-altitude sub-regions of Mendoza (the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo) has a distinct taste character that may be distinguished from other varieties. Strong acidity and tannin levels help to enhance the rich fruit notes and silky texture of this wine. Blueberry, red plum, and chocolate flavors, as well as medicinal overtones, are frequently featured prominently in this blend. The Malbec grapes flourished in the hot, high-altitude climate of the area, displaying none of the flaws that they had in France.
Tobacco, coffee, and licorice aromas are prominent, with red and black currants also present in the mix.
Malbec Food Pairings
One of the reasons Malbec is so popular is that it is simple to drink and mixes nicely with a variety of foods. Almost every dish, from appetizers to entrees to desserts, may benefit from the addition of Malbec to the menu. Because of the wine’s strong structure and low alcohol content, it is an excellent match with meat, particularly smokey or spice-rubbed red meat. Making seasoning mixes using herbs and spices will help to bring out the fruit flavors in your wine and make them more prominent.
- In addition to meat eaters, vegetarians can benefit from excellent pairings as long as the flavors trend toward umami rather than harsh.
- While dry red wines are not typically associated with desserts, Malbec may be paired with the correct meal.
- Choose a forcheese with a nutty flavor, such as a nutty manchego, sharp cheddar, or stilton.
- The Malbec grape is a crowd-pleasing wine that can be enjoyed no matter what the occasion or the flavor preferences of the party you’re with are.
Malbec Wines: Blending Drinkability and Affordability
Malbec (also known as côt) is an Argentine red wine grape that originated in Cahors, in the Bordeaux area of France. It is currently the country’s most famous grape and hallmark red wine. The grapes are sometimes used in red wine mixes, but they are also utilized to produce a delicious wine of the same name, which is also made from the grapes. Malbec wines have tastes of ripe red and purple fruits and, like most other red wines, have a rather high alcohol content (compared to most others).
- Argentina (Uco Valley, Tupungato, Salta, Paraje Altamira), Cahors, Chile, Tuscany, Sonoma
- Cahors, Chile, Tuscany, Sonoma
- Cahors, Chile
- Cahors, France is the place of origin. Sweetness:Dry
- Color:dark purple
- Alcohol content:13–16 percent
Malbec vs. Merlot
Malbec and merlot are both grape varieties that originate in the Bordeaux area of France and are commonly seen in red wine mixes. Despite the fact that both wines have characteristics of rich, luscious fruits as well as hints of tobacco and vanilla, merlot is softer than malbec and has less concentrated tannins.
Due to the fact that merlot grapes are more regularly farmed in France than malbec, merlot tends to be more expensive than malbec. Both wines are excellent companions to red meat.
Taste and Flavor Profile
Malbec wines are dry and full-bodied, with a rich, dark fruit scent and notes of blackberry and red plum that linger on the palate. They include flavors of vanilla, tobacco, dark chocolate, and oak, and they are luscious and jammy in texture. They match nicely with food since they have a medium acidity and a modest amount of tannins. Premium malbecs from Argentina accurately represent their origins, with high-altitude wines displaying red fruit flavors such as cherry and raspberry, along with more floral notes than lower-altitude malbec.
How to Taste Wine
When tasting wine, there are a few procedures you should take to guarantee you get the greatest experience possible:
- Take a careful look at the wine, paying attention to the color and opacity as you look through the glass
- Aroma: Swirl your glass for 10 seconds and take a brief smell of the liquid within. After that, insert your nose into the wine glass and take a deep breath, soaking in your first impressions of the beverage
- Taste: Take a little sip and allow it to roll about in your tongue for a few seconds. When tasting for the first time, take notice of the acidity, sugar, tannins, and alcohol concentration, then go on to the taste notes (berries, spice, oak), and lastly the finish.
Grapes and Wine Regions
Even though malbec originated in the Bordeaux area of France, it did not thrive in that location. Because of its susceptibility to pests and fungal diseases, it was gradually phased out of cultivation and was normally only used in blends. Once introduced to Argentina in the 1800s, the vines flourished in the country’s arid, high-altitude climate and swiftly established themselves as the country’s most significant grape variety. The grapes grown at lower elevations are thinner-skinned and are utilized for blends and mass-produced wines, whilst those grown at higher elevations are thick-skinned and powerful.
Malbec grapes are used in a range of red wine mixes, and they are frequently blended with other grapes such as merlot, tannat, and cabernet sauvignon.
Served with smoky and spice-rubbed red meat, Malbec pairs particularly well with the dish it was made to accompany. Serve it with a sirloin steak, grilled lamb chops, or braised pork, or with a rich blue cheese if you want to go all out. Malbec is a vegetarian-friendly wine that pairs well with grilled, meaty portobello mushrooms. Serve malbec or red wine mixes that include the grape in a wine glass with a grape motif. Serve at a temperature that is just below room temperature, or around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Key Producers, Brands, and Buying Tips
Malbecs are readily accessible in supermarkets, wine shops, liquor stores, and on the wine lists of many restaurants across the world. You’ll most certainly discover a variety of selections at a variety of pricing ranges, with bottles ranging from $12 to more than $200 in price. With most alternatives falling between $15 and $40, a high-quality malbec may be acquired for a discount price of approximately $20 to $25—the value of malbec is often higher when compared to French reds.
If you can’t locate a nice malbec, try bringing home a merlot from the store. When shopping for the popular red wine, keep an eye out for the following labels:
- Michelini, Luca, Superuco, Don Miguel Gascon, Antigal, Altos Las Hormigas, Colomé, Susana Balbo, Catena, and Crios are just a few of the names on the list.
Wine for Beginners: What to Expect From My Glass of Malbec
At some point, you’ve definitely overheard someone discussing the wine list at a restaurant or mentioning their favorite sorts of wines. You recognize a lot of the names they mention: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Rosé — but one of the names, Malbec, has you scratching your head in confusion. Does it have anything to do with wine, a philosopher you missed in Psych 101, or an eccentric cat name you found on the Internet? If you haven’t already, Malbec is a delicious red wine that is well worth your time.
Malbec Wine Flavor at a Glance
Though you may come across the Malbec grape in a rare mix, rosé, or dessert wine, you’re more likely to come across Malbec in a bottle of red wine than in any other form. When you pour a glass of Malbec, the first thing you’ll notice is the deep, inky, purple-red color that it has. This red wine from Argentina, with a little lighter body than Cabernet Sauvignon and somewhat less sweetness than Italian Chianti wines, is full of juicy berries. Think big cherries and blackberries with some succulent plums thrown in to round out the flavor profile.
A select Malbecs may have a stronger emphasis on wood age, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, leather, and black pepper characteristics, which will give the wine a smoky or spicy flavor profile.
Where is Malbec Wine From?
Malbec grapes are grown in the Bordeaux area of France, which comes as a surprise to no one. Malbec is one of the most widely planted varietals in the world, and while it is used in blends, it does not receive the recognition it deserves. Let us begin with Argentina, where some estimate that up to three-quarters of the world’s Malbec production occurs. Several other nations, like the United States, Chile, and Australia, have taken note of this and are now cultivating Malbec as well.
When Should You Drink Malbec?
It is possible that Malbec wine will serve you better than a more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah when you desire a jammy red wine without going overboard with your spending. SeveralMalbec wines to pair with supper this week may be purchased at a lower cost because it’s more inexpensive. The medium-to-full-bodied berry overtones and dryness of this wine may stand up to a juicy, red meat entrée as well as spicy Mexican, Indian, or Thai cuisine with savory elements, among other things. Despite the fact that cumin, mushrooms, and weird bleu cheese are all powerful tastes, Malbec is able to dance with them and stand on its own.
Advice: When serving Malbec, chill it for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator before pouring into wine glasses with broad bowls, if possible.
The world of wine is a fascinating one to learn about.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about Malbec wine, stop by the Haskell’s location closest to you and we’ll assist you in selecting the best Malbec for your simple dinner today or your weekend get-together next weekend. Types of Wine are some of the topics covered.
A Short Guide to Argentine Malbec
Argentina has a lot to offer in addition to its famous Malbec. However, every now and again, you just can’t get enough of this hit in all of its rich and fruity magnificence. You want a wine with a deep, dark color, powerful scents, and husky tastes of black fruits and wood; you want it to pair well with empanadas and a succulent steak fresh off the grill. Malbec, which was once a Bordeauxgrape, today accounts for about half of Argentina’s wine exports. It is grown fromMendoza, the center of Argentina’s wine country, up north to San Juan and Salta, and it represents the many terroirs from which it originates in each region.
When the wines are produced in the higher, colder regions of Mendoza, they tend to have higher levels of natural acidity.
In this section, we will discuss Malbec’s so-called midtier, where bottle prices range from the early teens to well than $30.
To learn more about Argentine Malbec, feel free to experiment with different blends.
Pick a mix, or try all six
Colomé 2016 Estate Malbec (Salta) is available for $25. With its inky color and rustic character, Salta Malbec is grown in Argentina’s furthest northernmost province, where heights surpass a mile above sea level and sun exposure is strong. La Posta 2017 Fazzio Malbec (Tupungato) is available for purchase for $18. Aromas of dried berries and fruits are accompanied by wild yet controlled tones of leather and animal. Crisp black-plum and cherry notes are underpinned by silky tannins in this medium-weight, medium-concentration wine with medium weight and concentration.
- Connections between vines.
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- The scents of jammy black fruit are reedy and herbal, with a hint of fennel bulb in the background.
- It has a raw, jagged palate that is heavy and robust.
- Selections from the Taub Family.
- Aromas of blackberry, black plum, coconut, and charred wood are present in the nose, which is intense.
A warming finish has peppery spice and fudge-like notes, as well as a thick texture.
2015 Reserve Estate Grown Malbec (Luján de Cuyo); $19 Zolo 2015 Reserve Estate Grown Malbec (Luján de Cuyo).
This is rich and well-integrated on the tongue, with notes of blackberry and oak-based spice that are savory in the finish, with a hint of graphite.
Vino del Sol is a Spanish wine.
2016 Polgonos del Valle de Uco Malbec (Paraje Altamira); $30.
When you taste it, you’ll notice a spring-loaded dose of rubbery tannins and moderate acid-based astringency.
The flavors of blackberry and dark plum, which have been naturally blackened, are rich, round, and persistent throughout the lengthy, strong finish. Drink till the year 2024. Winesellers, Ltd. was selected as Editors’ Choice. This article was published on April 16, 2019.
Three Countries, Three Views, Three Malbecs
Michael Schachner contributed to this article. If you’re anything like the majority of red wine enthusiasts, you’ve grown to like Argentinian Malbec. Argentina’s Malbec is a rich, excellent wine that pairs well with just about everything cooked, especially meats such as beef. What Argentine Malbec is not, on the other hand, is a wine that can be enjoyed in any manner. With terroirs spanning the length and breadth of Argentina’s wine region, Malbec can be found anywhere from Mendoza, in the heart of wine country, through Salta Province in the north and down to the southern subzones of Patagonia in the south.
- It is common for Malbec cultivated in warm places like as Cafayate in Salta or the typical center zones of Mendoza to produce wines that are black, lustrous, and moderately high in alcohol, with a significant degree of oak-derived flavour.
- When it comes to Patagonia’s colder, windier, and drier climates—specifically, the areas of Neuquén and Ro Negro—freshness is the wine’s calling card.
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- Policy Regarding Personal Information Take note that this generally applies to high-end wines such as premium, ultra-premium, and icon-level offerings.
- Whatever your preference, whether it’s an extracted bruiser with mile-deep blackberry and chocolate smells and flavors, something more zesty and red-leaning, or a plain, easy quaffer, there’s a Malbec to suit your palate.
- Cahors, France / courtesy of Getty Images
Cahors: The Original Malbec
Roger Voss contributed to this article. Cahors is a red wine made from Malbec. For more than a decade, this 10,000-acre area in southern France has been associated with the grape. In order to distinguish their wines from Argentinean Malbec, the producers in the region refer to their location as the “home of the original” Malbec. C’est at Cahors, France, that Malbec was first documented in the 16th century. The majority of Malbec sold in France today is the black, typically solidly structured wines produced in that region.
- In the Loire Valley, where it is called as Côt, there are still plantings of the grape.
- Cahors wine is made to be aged since its structure necessitates it.
- For Malbec to reach its full potential, it must be aged for at least seven years, either on its own or in conjunction with the equally structured Tannat grape.
- Increased investment as well as new faces have arrived as a result.
- A good worldwide reputation is being established by the region’s estates (which are referred to as châteaux in traditional Bordeaux way, even if the house is fairly modest).
In spite of the fact that Cahors will never produce numbers comparable to those produced in Argentina, the region has re-established itself as a prominent French wine region, mostly due to the influence of Malbec. Washington’s àMaurice Cellars in the winter / Photograph courtesy of àMaurice Cellars
The Rising Star of Washington Malbec
Submitted by Sean P. Sullivan Over the last decade, Malbec has emerged as a rising star in the state of Washington. The winemaker of Maurice Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington, Anna Schafer Cohen, believes that Washington produces some of the world’s greatest Malbec. “I would say without reservation that Washington produces some of the world’s best Malbec,” she adds. The great Paul Hobbs at Via Cobos in Argentina inspired Cohen to make her first Malbec at àMaurice in 2005 after working with him at Via Cobos.
- When asked what distinguishes Washington Malbec from other varietals, Cohen responds that it is the capacity to add subtlety.
- “It conveys so much Moroccan bazaar spice.” “That’s something you can buy in Washington State.” Its ability to mix well with food accounts for a portion of Malbec’s widespread appeal.
- “People remember it because it’s simple to say, and it’s not the usual suspects,” the author says.
- So, will Malbec become the next big thing in Washington state?
- Production continues to be limited, with only a few hundred acres under vine—a mere 0.1 percent of the state’s total land area under vine.
- However, when it comes to quality, Washington Malbec is setting the standard higher than ever.
Read more about the current state of Malbec—by the numbers—on Beverage Industry Enthusiast.
In Mendoza, a mature Malbec vine is seen. This inky black-blue grape variety, originally from the region ofCahors in the south-western French department of Provence, is today better recognized as the signature wine grape of Argentina. Powered mostly by its popularity in the vineyards of Mendoza, Malbec has rocketed from relative obscurity to international prominence within only a few short decades. Argentina’s status as a wine-producing nation was elevated at the same time as a result of this achievement.
Despite the fact that Malbec is a French grape variety, its history in that nation has been tumultuous.
In France, Malbec is the signature grape of the Cahors region in the southwest of the country. It must account for a least of 70% of any AOC Cahors wine, and it must be complemented by a rich, round Merlot and a rustic, tannic Tannat to be considered. “Black Wine” is a nickname given to it because of its dark coloration. The Great Frost of 1956 took off the majority of the grapes in the region where it originated. On the plus side, as a result of the massive replanting that occurred afterward, Malbec grew even more dominant.
In terms of marketing, this resulted in manufacturers beginning to include the variety name on their labels (at odds with typical French appellation regulations).
Aside from that, certain riper or more fruity varieties began to arise alongside the more tannic conventional expressions, which was encouraged in part by global warming.
Bordeaux and other French regions
It is also used as an ingredient in red wines from Bordeaux, and it used to make up a considerably larger proportion of many Bordeaux blends than it does now. However, the 1956 frosts struck here as well, resulting in a significant reduction in the surface area of Malbec, which was replaced by the more dependable Merlot. In today’s world, it is most commonly found in Saint-Émilion, Bourg-en-Blaye, and the Entre-Deux-Mers, and then only in small quantities, as a splash of color to add a splash of color.
It is legal throughout the Midi, but it is very seldom grown in the Cabardès and Malepère regions.
A blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay in the red wines of Anjou, Côteaux du Loir, and Touraine may be made using this grape variety, as well as a sparklingSaumurwine.
North Italy is, without a doubt, the most important region.
Because of the consistently bright and mild weather here, Malbec has truly come into its own. At lower elevations, the skins of the variety tend to be thinner, and the fruit soft and flexible – making it excellent for rosés and mass-produced reds, among other things (carbonic macerationis sometimes used to create an approachable, light red wine for summer). Further up, on the lower slopes of the Andes Mountains, the cultivar develops a thicker skin and a more concentrated concentration of taste as it grows in elevation and altitude.
- Argentina’s tallest vineyards, located in the Saltaprovince, reach elevations of about 3050m (10,000ft) above sea level, making them among of the world’s highest vineyards in terms of elevation.
- Altitude also brings with it clean, dry air, resulting in a decreased incidence of illness.
- Although the precise year of the first Malbec plantings in this region is unknown, it is believed to have occurred at a location near Panquehua, north of Mendoza City, in 1865.
- Its history in Argentina, like that of Malbec in France, has been turbulent, contrary to the wine’s current dominant position.
In the course of Argentina’s national vine-pulling program, In the late 1980s, a large number of Malbec vines (including some of South America’s oldest) were removed, resulting in a significant loss of production.
Other Malbec regions
Although the earliest Malbec vineyards in Chile may well predate those in Argentina, it was Argentina’s recent success that spurred the majority of the country’s current Malbec plantations. It is often cultivated in colder areas of the Central Valley and produces fresher, more beautiful types than other varieties. Malbec forms part of theMeritageblend in the United States, and has a prominent presence inCalifornia. Between 1995 and 2003, the state increased the size of its Malbec vines from around 1000 acres to over 7000 acres (400 to 2800ha).
Oregon and Washington (with a concentration on the Walla Walla Valley) have significantly lower numbers.
This grape is frequently blended with the softer, less tannic Merlot in Australian and New Zealand wineries in order to produce bright, fruit-driven wines against a backbone of oak tannin.
French Malbec, on the whole, is more meaty, rustic, and tannic than its counterpart in Argentina. Argentina’s examples appear to range from bright and fresh to the more established export type; rich, ripe, jammy, and juicy, to name a few characteristics. Further generalizing, fruit scents tend to be more reminiscent of the plummy character of Merlot than the blackcurrant character of Cabernet Sauvignon, according to the experts. Fresher, lighter examples might have a stronger affinity for red fruits.
The majority of Malbec wines produced on both sides of the Atlantic are matured in oak barrels to improve the wine’s structure and aging potential.
In order to properly mature, the varietal requires a higher level of heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Malbec, on the other hand, often ripens in the middle of the growing season if the weather is warm enough. Due to the fact that it is so sensitive to its growing environment, the amount of ripeness has a significant impact on the structure of the wine that is produced. Despite the fact that Malbec is not a late ripener, it is particularly vulnerable to early frost. It is also susceptible to downy mildew and coulure (the lack of grapes to grow after blooming as a result of unfavorable climatic conditions).
It appears to yield its darkest and most tannic expressions when grown on limestone soil, such as those found in Cahors, France.
Côt vs. Malbec
Not every Malbec, on the other hand, is created equal. Francois Lurton, a Frenchman living and working in Argentina, cultivates both Côt (from cuttings imported from France more recently) and Malbec (massal selections from pre-phylloxera stocks). He feels that the early cuttings were taken from the best expression of the variety available at the time. The early stocks flourished in Argentina’s warmer, brighter climate, and the best vines were propagated to establish new vineyards throughout the country.
Despite the fact that the “newer” Côt contains bigger berries, the tannins are more overt, and the wines might be leaner, greener, and higher in acidity.
The cultivar is known as Côt or Auxerrois in Cahors, where it has been for centuries. Beginning with the initial shipment of cuttings to Argentina in the 1800s, the term Malbec appears to have been more widely known (see above). Pressac was the name given to it when it first appeared in Bordeaux. Another local term, Auxerrois, has the potential to be quite misleading. In the Auxerre area, there is little or no Malbec produced, while Auxerrois Blanc, also known as Pinot Auxerrois, is an unrelated white brother of Chardonnay that is most often planted in Alsace.
For the variant described by the French ampelographer Pierre Galet, a total of over 1000 distinct synonyms have been identified so far.
Food pairings for Malbec
This might vary widely depending on the style of the wine being consumed. Lighter, juicier kinds of Argentine Malbec are excellent all-arounders, whilst the riper, heavier styles are better suited to meats and heartier fare. These more oaked versions can pair nicely with chocolate because to the presence of dark fruit, coffee, and chocolate characteristics in the blend. Even sweets such as tiramisu may be made to function quite well if only one bottle of wine is opened throughout dinner. The typical, tannic Cahors Black Wine will be softened by protein-rich meats, cheeses, and nut-based foods, which will complement the wine’s tannic character.
Enjoy this glimpse at Malbec in its new home in South Africa.