- France: Cahors, Loire Valley
- Argentina: Mendoza, San Juan, Salta
- Chile: Colchagua, Cachapoal, Curico
- USA: California, Washington, Oregon
- Malbec is a crowd pleaser – choose a hand harvested Gran Reserva Malbec from Mendoza to go with everything from BBQ to your Sunday steak
HOW TO SERVE
- Decant: 1 hour
- 15 – 18 °C (59 – 64 °F)
- Malbec glass, or any glass with wide bowl with smaller rim, a universal wine glass will also work
FOOD & CHEESE
- Steak, meat in general, salami, Indian, Mexican food, tuna, salmon, spaghetti and meatballs, burgers
- Blue cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, manchega
Malbec is a grape that originated in France although it was Argentina who made it popular where it remains the most planted grape. For a very long time, Malbec did not cross France’s border mainly because of its reputation for being very prone to rot and disease. The humid weather was not favorable for Malbec and many producers started planting only small amounts to avoid losing entire crops due to rot.
In the 1800s, Malbec traveled from France to Mendoza in Argentina where hot climate proved to be much more favorable for Malbec. It was actually Argentina who put Malbec on the map again after it had suffered a bad reputation in France. Later on in the 2000s is when Malbec had finally reached the U.S. and soon became a favorite in terms of taste and also price point.
In France it is mostly grown in Cahors where the conditions are more favorable and is still used as one of the 5 blending grapes allowed in the Bordeaux blend. Cahors is also the region which produces varietal Malbec wines in France.
Malbec has thick skins and produces inky colored wines which are full bodied, tannic and with balanced acidity. Depending on where in the world Malbec is planted, warmer or cooler climate, the wine will have very different expressions. For examples, Cahors wines are more tannic and rustic with less oak while Mendoza Malbec will have New World characteristics being softer in tannins with more oak, fruitier and with higher alcohol levels.
- Other grape names: Auxerrois, Côte Noir
- Blend: minimum 70% Malbec, commonly blended with Tannat and Merlot
- Taste Profile: Very tannic, earthy, rustic, less oak
- Limestone soils which means higher tannins
- Good aging ability
- Vineyards: Luján de Cuyo, Uco Valley
- High altitude vines with big temperature changes between day and night. The cooler temperatures at night slow down the ripening process and help the grapes gain acidity, balancing it well with their richness
- Taste profile: New world taste, fruity, plum notes, less tannic, velvety, oak is more prominent, higher levels of alcohol
- Sandy and clay soils which are high in minerals and have good drainage meaning less rot
- Uco Valley wines are more tannic while Luján de Cuyo have softer tannins and are fruitier
- Choosing a wine – red Argentinean wine tears:
- Lowest tier – not aged in oak, fruity, not complex, up to $15-$20 per bottle
- Mid-tier – Reserva wines which are usually aged in oak and more complex in taste. Price ranges up to $30.
- Higher-tier – Gran Reserva wines are some of the best, have been aged in oak and will cost you more than $30.
- Tip: choose a wine that has been hand harvested.
Nobs & Snobs
Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016
- Country and region: Australia, Clare Valley
- Producer: RedHeads
- Blend: 61% Malbec, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Alcohol content: 14.5%
- Tasting notes: black fruit, plum, blackberry, cedar, crisp, smooth tannins, medium to full body, medium finish