Flavourful, rich and dark, no wonder Malbec is a popular go-to on menus for many a wine drinker.
Native to Bordeaux and at home in Cahors, France, Malbec was first propagated in Argentina in the mid-1800s. It can produce dark purple wines with flavours of dark fruit (blackberry, black cherry, plum), spices (clove, pepper, liquorice) and chocolate, and sometimes with a twists of violet.
In Argentina, plantings of Malbec take up over 12% of the total vineyard area. It is grown throughout the wine regions, but the most popular spot is Mendoza, with some top quality wines coming from vineyards located at over 1,000m in particular (expect more elegance, freshness and floral aromas). Argentinian single-variety Malbec wines tend to be full-bodied, deeply coloured with lots of black fruit and tannins, making Malbec a good candidate for oak ageing.
There are a variety of styles:
🍷 At the lower end of the price scale, high volume wines can be fresh with a focus on fruity flavours (little time in oak).
🍷 As you go up the price scale, grapes can be sourced from older vines, and wines may spend more time in oak, giving vanilla and spice notes to complement the fruity flavours as well as enhancing the natural tannins from the grape (giving greater structure).
🍷 At the top of the price scale, wines are made in small volumes from hand-picked grapes grown on old vines, with longer ageing in oak and in the bottle before release.
Malbec is also blended with other grapes (mostly other varieties that hail from Bordeaux - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot) to make premium wines.
We challenge you to explore all of the styles that Malbec offers. A good starting point is our collection of Argentinian wine - let us know how you get on!
Remember to check out future posts about some the best grape varieties grown across the New World. You heard it first here on the Oh Grape Vine!