Malbec Wine

A Fruity, Spicy Red Wine Associated with Argentina

The popularity of Malbec wine has exploded over the last 5 to 10 years. It's easy to drink, affordable and pairs well with many every day meals. It's also a smooth one that you can enjoy on its own.

These are fruity with some hints of spices. You'll taste blackberry, black cherry and plum. Most also have hints of floral notes, chocolate and black pepper.

They are medium to full-bodied wines. They are also rich in color and offer just a few tannins to give them some structure.

malbec wine

While this wine originated in the Bordeaux region in France, it is now most often associated with Argentina.

How do you pronounce Malbec? Click the play button below to listen to an English pronunciation.

History in France

This red wine was once very popular in Bordeaux. It was also popular throughout France with hundreds of different names for all the variations grown.

Throughout the years, France producers ran into a number of problems with Malbec wine. The biggest issue was that it was susceptible to damage from cold temperatures and frost.

They also faced issues with mildew in the grape bunches. Due to these challenges, many producers began to replace these vines with easier to grow red wines.

The largest hit for this red in France was in 1956. This is the year the Bordeaux region faced a major freeze. This damaged a large number of the vines and many producers used this as an opportunity to plant different varieties.

Even though the plantings are limited, it is still a minor red wine type in the famous Bordeaux blend.


Argentina's Love for Malbec Wine

Today, many people associate Malbec with Argentina. Its climate, particularly in the Mendoza wine region, is perfect for this temperamental grape. The grapes grown here are also hearty enough to create single variety wines - instead of only using it in blends as the French did for years.

Argentina has grown it for a number of years, but it was not always as popular as it is today. Producers in Argentina had challenges in the 1970s and 1980s when many Argentine wine drinkers switched to white wine. The producers did a lot to reverse the trend and it is now the most popular red wine in Argentina.

If you want to learn more about Malbec's history in Argentina, read The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec. I just finished it and it gave me a great perspective on the history of wine in Argentina and how Malbec became so popular.


Other Top Regions

Even though it lost its popularity in many French regions, it is still the most planted grape in the Cahors AOC (define AOC). This is a region in the southwestern part of France.

In Cahors, Malbec is known as Auxerrios, Cot or Cot Noir. It is the dominant red here and producers are required to use it as 70% in their blends.

Due to Argentina's recent success, Chile has also tried their hand at producing this variety. Their success has not matched Argentina but they sometimes use it as a blending grape with other wines.

chile malbec

Small amounts of it grow in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Producers in the United States grow some including those in Washington, Napa Valley and wineries in a few other regions. Italy also grows a small amount.


Storing Your Malbec

You should store your Malbec wine in the same manner as other red wines. You should store them in a dark, cool environment at between 50° and 60° F (10° and 15° C) (find other great red storing tips).

You can drink most of them at around 3 to 5 years of age. Higher-quality (usually also more expensive) Malbecs have the ability to age up to around 10 to 15 years.


How to Serve Malbec Wine

Should you chill your Malbec wine before serving? No, not really. You should serve it at around 61° to 65° F (16° to 18° C).

If you just pulled it out of storage, it should warm up a little in no time. If you are storing it at room temperature, you might need to cool it down just a little (find tips for safely cooling your red wines before drinking).

You should also open the bottle to give it some time to breath. If I have the time, I try to open them an hour or two before pouring.

To get the best aromas and flavors out of your Malbec wine, you should serve it with a standard red glass. I recommend the Libbey Vina Round Red Wine Goblets since they are affordable and work well with most red wines.


Pairing Tips

As I mentioned above, Malbec wine pairs well with a variety of dishes. The best pairing for medium bodied ones is veal or pork chops.

Heavier ones need a heartier meal such as lamb chops or steaks. I also love pairing these with burgers.


Buying Malbec Wine

Another great thing about this type of red is that it is easy to find. You will easily find them in your local supermarket or store. They don't often have a Malbec section, so head to the Argentina or South American wines section to find it.

You can also find a large selection - and some great values - online at Wine.com.

Here are a few of my favorite producers:

alamos malbec alta vista anoro malbec
catena malbec elsa bianchi malbec gascon malbec

Many of these are widely available. Most are affordable and a perfect everyday option (search for Argentina Malbec on Wine.com). icon

Other Great Red Wines

If you love this red, you might also like these.

grenache wine cabernet franc syrah wine
Grenache
Cabernet Franc
Shiraz

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