In honor of yesterday’s celebration of World National Malbec Day, we wanted to take a moment to honor this purple grape variety mostly used in creating red wine! As a full-bodied red wine that mostly grows in Argentina dating back to the 18th century, this certain grape is thick-skinned and requires a warmer and more sunlit environment to mature, as compared to other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Malbec is known for carrying a deep plum color and smoky finish, and will often have a bright magenta rim. It is also considered a much cheaper alternative than the higher priced dry wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Malbec is typically celebrated as an Argentine varietal, but is now grown worldwide and known as one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. The Malbec grapes that grow in France tend to sometimes struggle with the cooler climates, and are usually blended with Cabernet Franc and Gamay in certain regions like the Loire Valley. In Argentina it is commonly blended with Bonarda, a red grape known as Deuce Noir. Today, Argentina contains over 75% of all the acres of Malbec in the world, as the high elevation spots, sunny climates and cooler nights allow this grape to flourish. Malbec also thrives in California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, but in much smaller yields.
Argentina’s Malbec compared to Malbec from France
Argentina Malbec tends to hold a more fruitier taste of blackberries, plums, and black cherry. The flavor is also said to have a milk chocolate, floral and sweet tobacco finish. Malbec from France on the other hand is completely different from being fruit forward, and carries a leathery and tart currant hints of black plum. French Malbecs especially from the Loire and Cahors contain a higher acidity which attributes to it having a black pepper and spice taste. French Malbecs also tend to age longer due to their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol.
Malbec Food Pairing
Because Malbec does not have a super long finish, this varietal pairs great with leaner red meats such as cuts of beef, turkey or even ostrich, as it has a tendency to overwhelm with fattier meats. Winefolly.com recommends pairing Malbec with black pepper buffalo burgers with blue cheese mushrooms and rosemary infused garlic kale chips. Yum! As for spices, look for spices that will bring out Malbec’s smokey and earthy undertones, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika, vanilla bean, garlic, and black pepper. (lots of black pepper is the key!) www.usualwines.com recommends using plenty of olive oil to even out the tannic nature of Malbec. Blue cheese, goat cheese, mushrooms, roasted vegetables, lentils, black beans and forbidden rice all pair beautifully with Malbec as well.
If you are on the hunt for a stronger bodied wine and the 15% ABV high alcohol level doesn’t faze you, Malbec might just be the right wine for you! Malbec has truly rebounded as once again a globally loved wine after near extinction in France, and we will be celebrating Malbec all year round. Cheers!
Don’t forget to try our Alamos Malbec 2020 & 2021 silver winner!
Written By Morgan Garberg