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TheWineBuyingGuide.com

What is Malbec?

Get acquainted with this fruity, spicy red wine.

By: Kristin Anderson, Editor, TheWineBuyingGuide.com
Learn about Malbec wine
Learn about Malbec wine
This image courtesy of thewinebuyingguide.com

The saying might go, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” But it’s way more fun to say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s Malbec.”

This fruit-filled and smoky red wine is becoming a hot topic at wine restaurants around the world. The bold flavors charm those who love big reds, and nuanced flavor characters of chocolate and spice are too intriguing to ignore. Add to that the fact that Malbec is a relative newcomer to the wine mainstage, and you’ve got a red that is bound to be popular.

Here are some sizzling facts on Malbec wine, plus tips for purchasing and pairing it with your favorite dinner menus.

Quick, what is Malbec?

Malbec is a full-bodied red wine that has bold fruit and spicy or smoky flavors. Malbec is made from Malbec grapes, which grow well in France and Argentina. French Malbec and Argentinian Malbec vary in taste, with the latter being more fruity.

Where does Malbec come from?

Malbec originated in France, where it was primarily used in France’s famous Bordeaux blend red wine. The grape was typically grown in small amounts due to its susceptibility to damage from pests and cold weather. Growing a large crop of Malbec grapes was too risky and impractical for many growers. Although France does produce pure bottles of Malbec now, the highest production of this wine actually comes from another country.

Argentina is the top producer of Malbec in the world, comprising 75% of all acres of fruit planted. Malbec grapes grow well in Argentina, in part due to the high elevation. The rapid increase in Malbec production in Argentina helped facilitate the current boom in popularity in Malbec wines.

What does Malbec taste like?

Malbec is a bold red wine that is often a very dark purple in the glass. It usually shows fruity flavors of black cherry and blackberry, with accents of smoke, spice, and chocolate. The wine is also usually full-bodied and high in alcohol. However, it differs from other big reds in that the finish is on the short side, and tannins and acidity are moderate.

Malbec taste does vary based on where the wine is produced. French Malbec wines are usually tarter, with flavors of green fruits, leather, and spice. Argentinian Malbec wines, on the other hand, are fruit forward, with juicy berries and accents of chocolate.

How do I buy Malbec?

Often considered a good value wine, quality Malbec wines can be purchased for around $12-$15 per bottle. You will get better expression of terroir and a higher overall quality as you approach $20 per bottle and up.

Malbec wines from around the world can be ordered online, so it’s great to try a variety of Malbec wines from different parts of the world. Try ordering a French Malbec and an Argentinian Malbec and comparing the flavors between the two.

Here are some great suggestions from our wine catalog to get you started.

What foods pair well with Malbec wine?

Malbec pairs with a variety of foods, especially anything that is full of bold flavor.

Malbec is a great red wine pairing for lean red meats, like pork loin or flank steak. It is also great with spicy Mexican dishes, boldly seasoned buffalo burgers with blue cheese, roasted chicken, or hearty pasta dishes. 

Have you tried Malbec wine?

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I love Malbec, but I never quite know what to pair it with! Thanks for these awesome tips :)

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