If you’re a red wine drinker then the chances are you’ve probably tried Malbec. Heck, even if you’re not a red drinker, or even a wine fan for that matter, you’ve probably heard of Malbec. In recent years Malbec has increased in popularity and now is a regular fixture on wine lists and supermarket shelves.
Taking this into account, we thought we’d give you a bit more information on this fantastic wine. This is our guide to Malbec!
WHAT IS MALBEC?
Malbec is a thick skinned, premium, medium-full bodied red wine producing black grape. Malbec wine is usually rich and packed with dark fruit flavours and spiciness. It can be blended, but more often than not, it produces single varietal wine, especially in Argentina.
WHERE IS MALBEC PRODUCED?
It is most famously produced in Mendoza, Argentina however, it is planted in various countries such as Chile and France. Malbec is actually indigenous to France and can be used in right bank blends. However, in recent decades Argentina has claimed it as their favourite grape. The major French Malbec producing region in France is Cahors, just outside of the Bordeaux region. Here you will find Malbec based, blended wines. This is because appellation law states that Malbec has to make up 70% of the blends.
HISTORY OF MALBEC
Malbec’s history begins in France. Traditionally Malbec was planted in large volumes in Bordeaux and was part of the blends there (and it still is to some degree to this day) however, it has suffered a steep decline in the 20th century due to many factors. It isn’t as hardy as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which makes it susceptible to mildew and frost. Taking this into account, grape growers drifted towards other, more reliable varieties.
Malbec was actually introduced to Argentina in the mid 19th century and was grown in moderate volumes until the mid 20th century when large quantities of it was ripped up in favour of varieties like Criolla Grande and Cereza; varieties used for producing cheap, bulk wine. In the late 20th century, Argentinian winemakers started looking at producing more premium quality wine. With this in mind, large quantities of Malbec were replanted, which started its comeback.
MALBEC WINE STYLE
The Malbec grape produces beautiful medium-full bodied red wine. When drinking Malbec, expect dark fruit aromas like blueberry and black cherry (especially in Argentinian Malbec), however it also packs a punch of liquorice spice, black pepper and even dark chocolate notes. Malbec is almost always aged in oak, which helps add subtle vanilla and tertiary notes.
Basic/cheaper Malbecs will have little to no oak ageing. The most time a basic Malbec will spend in oak in about three months. Expect a fruit forward wine with red fruit aromas, in particular red plum.
More expensive/reserva malbec have longer time in oak, which helps it develop more complex and darker aromas. You’ll commonly find black fruit flavours like black cherry and blue berry. You’ll also get chocolate and tobacco flavours coming from the added ageing time and the longer time it had spent in oak barrels.
ARGENTINIAN MALBEC WINE STYLE:
Malbec from Argentina is often grown at higher altitudes. This brings more acidity and tannin to the wine. The wine is normally fruit forward, and depending on the amount of oak ageing will have nuances of leather, chocolate and vanilla. But in general, expect really rich fruit forward aromas/flavours when drinking Argentinian Malbec wine.
FRENCH MALBEC WINE STYLE:
In Cahors, the terroir is completely different to that of Mendoza. French Malbec is grown lower altitudes and is a lot more tannic than its Argentinian counterpart. French Malbec does have fruit such as black plum, however when drinking french Malbec you ideally want to take note of the rich spice and leathery flavours that it gets from its high tannin content.
BEST MALBEC WINE: OUR FAVOURITE BOTTLES
VALLE DE CEIBO, 2017 MALBEC, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
This Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza region shows aromas of ripe black fruits and leather. On the palate it has gorgeous ripe fruit flavours of prune and damson with a hint of liquorice, with a soft, mellow mouthfeel. It’s a bit lighter than what people normally expect Malbec to be like, which helps enhance the aforementioned fruit flavours!
This is a favourite of ours. it’s youthful, well made easy on the wallet. We supply a number of restaurants with this wine and have had amazing feedback from all our partners.
Fancy a try of this magnificent Malbec? Well click here to buy now!
CHATEAU DE BABE, ‘POURPE’, 2014, COTES DE BOURG
Cotes de Bourg wines are sometimes overlooked. It’s not as well known as other Bordeaux appellations, so people will often opt for something they recognise. However, there’s plenty of quality wine coming out of this area. Chateau de Barbe produce some very high quality bottles!
With this in mind, expect a fleshy and structured wine with soft tannins, plenty of ripe fruit and a note of wild mint. We love this Cotes de Bourg, it’s truly a fantastic wine!
Want more Cotes de Bourg in your life? Click here to see our whole range!
THANKS FOR READING OUR MALBEC WINE GUIDE!
We hope you enjoyed reading our Malbec wine guide and got a bit more understanding on this amazing grape. Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of our homepage. Stay tuned for more blog posts!
Lightfoot Wines is an independent wine merchant est 1989. We aim to provide you with products and a level of service not seen in regular shops. We believe that wine should be enjoyed by everyone, feel free to ask us your wine related questions and we will provide you with an answer.All our products are available online, we can deliver anywhere in the UK and shipping is free on orders of £100 ad over!Visit us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for regular updates and special offers.