Malbec is one more variety of grape used for making red wine. The Malbec grape has a very interesting and complicated history of being not very successful in France and becoming the premier grape in Argentina.

Malbec was once widely planted in southwest France. It is still grown in some areas of France, where it is known as Cot. In France this grape variety is often used for blending. Since Malbec creates an inky red intense wine, it is commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, to create French Bordeaux-style blends.

It is the sun-drenched climate of Argentina that brought Malbec its well-deserved popularity. Argentinean Malbec has been rewarded medals in a variety of enological contests. Certainly, it is not only due to the hot climate of Argentina that Malbec became successful. The grapes were carefully selected, wood casks were replaced by oak barriques, vineyards were developed in places where the vines could benefit from warm days and cool nights, and a number of other improvements were introduced. More than 70% of the country’s acreage was devoted to Malbec cultivation.

Malbec is a thin-skinned grape and needs more sun than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. While French examples of Malbec are considered short-lived, Argentine Malbecs tend to age well. Many Malbecs can age for over a decade.

Malbec is a medium to full-bodied red wine with characteristic flavors of ripe plums, anise, blackberry, pepper and leather. These wines have deep red colors and ample tannins. They are described as rich, rustic and juicy. In terms of taste, Malbec somewhat reminds of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend.

The wine produced in Mendoza, Argentina, is very pleasant, intense, and rich, of beautiful purple color, and has certain earthy notes and a hint of spice. Malbec is also planted in Chile, California and Australia. In these countries it is often blended with other red varietals.

Malbec makes a natural partner for steak. Barbecued beef, any red meat dish, risotto and pizza will also go well with it. Chili, sausage and dishes with tomato-based sauces are also recommended as a good pairing to appreciate the taste of Malbec. Enjoy Malbec served at 58F.