You’ll find my most reviews and ratings of Malbec Wines here. The Malbec grape produces wines that stylistically fall between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with more plummy richness and roundness than Cabernet, but firmer tannins and structure than Merlot.
It adds a deep dark red hue and rich dark fruit aromas to the blend. It’s called ‘Côt’ in Cahors, where it’s the most widely planted grape; or Auxerrois in other regions of France.
There are actually more than 400 names for the grape, but Malbec was originally named after the Hungarian peasant who first planted the vine in southwest France several centuries ago.
A thin-skinned, mid-season ripener, Malbec is sensitive to frost. Most other regions that grow Malbec also use it as a minor blending grape except for the wines of Argentina, where it stands alone as the country’s flagship red.
Sometimes called Fer, Argentinan Malbecs are richer, rounder and fruitier than the European versions. Malbec thrives in Argentina because it gets the necessary hang time on the vine to ripen those lush plum flavors.
Unripe Malbec is green and stemmy. Although Bordeaux blends can age for decades, Malbec alone or as the dominant part of a blend is best enjoyed young.
Signature aromas of Malbec include plums, blackberries, black cherries, spices, earth and wood smoke.
Pair Malbec with beef, turkey, spicey dishes, tomato sauces, meaty casseroles, hamburgers, sausages, steak and kidney pie, cheddar, Adobo de Cerdo (spicy pork chop), game, lamb, spaghetti and meat balls, veal cutlets, osso buco and bittersweet chocolate.