Malbec is a dark purple grape variety that produces full-bodied red wines. Its rich, dark fruit flavour makes it a popular grape variety in blends and a staple component of the Bordeaux red blend. Despite its French origins, Malbec is grown worldwide, particularly in Argentina, where it has become the flagship grape variety.
Where is Malbec grown?
Originating in Cahors in the Bordeaux region of France, Malbec is now synonymous with Argentina, which produces around three-quarters of the world’s Malbec.
Malbec grapes love a sunny climate with cold nights. They do well in high-elevation spots such as the Mendoza wine region located in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina.
Malbec is also grown in other areas around the world, including:
- New Zealand
- The United States
- South Africa
Malbec wine style and character
Malbec red wines have medium acidity and tannins – and can be high in alcohol (around 12-15%). The thick-skinned purple grapes result in full-bodied wines with an inky purple hue.
Our best Malbec wines
Wines using Malbec grapes tend to be smooth and jammy, packed full of dark fruits. Plums, blackberries and black cherries are the primary taste trio, joined by hints of pepper and notes of tobacco. You may be lucky enough to detect subtle notes of chocolate, too.
Malbecs can differ slightly in flavour profiles depending on where it’s grown. Warmer climate Malbec wines tend to be richer in blackberry and plum flavours, while cooler temperatures result in wines that feature more red fruit, such as raspberry. Regardless of the region, Malbec is always delicious and juicy.
Wines created by grapes as robust and powerful as Malbec can handle strong flavours and rich dishes. Flavour nuances of tobacco, leather and smoke make Malbec wines a welcome guest at a barbecue.
Malbec wines are great paired with meat like steak and lamb and game meat like venison. Pescatarians can also enjoy a glass of red with meatier fish such as tuna steak.
Rich sauces like gravy and barbecue pair well with Malbec, and anything with Asian spices is also ideal. If you fancy creating a cheeseboard alongside your wine, a selection of blues like Stilton and Gorgonzola and milder cheese like Manchego will make the perfect selection.
For vegetarians, pair Malbec wines with a veggie stew or grilled mushrooms for a balanced palate, or enjoy it with tomato-based pasta dishes, so you’re not missing out on your favourite comfort meal.
How to serve
Malbec is best served at room temperature (around 16-17°C) for the flavours to be at the right intensity. If you need to chill the wine to this temperature, place the bottle in the fridge for around 20 minutes.
A smaller glass with a narrow rim is ideal for serving Malbec wines. The thin rim allows the wine to be directed straight to the mid-palate, allowing you to appreciate the fruit flavours and smooth finish.