About Malbec Red Wine

About Malbec Red Wine
While Malbec is historically known as a red Bordeaux variety, it is Argentina that has given this grape its new found popularity. Well-made Malbec is usually an opaque, or nearly opaque, magenta-tinged purple that can exhibit vibrant scents of luscious blackberry, ripe mulberries, and damson plums. With age, you will often detect notes of pressed violets and sun-dried leather. On the palate, well-made Malbecs will display flavors that are nicely supported by ripe, juicy tannins. A bit of oak-aging gives these wines structure and definition. Literally, a river of Malbec flows out of Argentina in vineyards that are located at the foot of the snow-frosted Andes. The Argentineans account for over seventy percent of the world’s production. There are also nice Malbecs made in California, France, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Argentina has developed a reputation for solid, entry-level Malbecs ($10 and up) that consistently offer lush, concentrated, fruit-driven flavors. The very prosperous consortium, Wines of Argentina, notes that they have seen a quintupling of Malbec exports in the last twelve years. This is primarily due to the lower cost of farming, the Argentinian peso. The fact that they go with and elevate the proteins that Americans have come to love has more than a little to do with this. “Viñas Viejas”: just typing “old vine” Malbec makes Malbec aficionados salivate. Exceptional old-vine Malbec can be well over 70 years old. Historically, in Medieval France, where Malbec is known at Cot, princes were anointed with what was then the most popular wine in Europe. Here is where “The Black Wines of Cahors” shine with charcuterie, especially black truffled speckled, country pâtés and Cassoulet. Thus, in many ways, what is old is new. These savory wines exhibit satiny tannins that melt away with airing. They will entice you with delicate floral notes, with all of the above-mentioned flavors being lifted by inherently fresh acidity. Regarding pairings, the trifecta of Malbec, meat and Umami (mmm… that’s good) truly will put you in the winner’s circle. In the everyday, ten-to-twenty-dollar range (the young and the fruity), the “2014 Serie Terra, Malbec, Mendoza” is a value and an exceptional example. Consider having this wine with braised beef ‘Empanadas Salteñas’ as a no-brainer classic. Don’t be afraid of flavorful paprika and cumin accents with this dish, as they are very good flavor bridges for Malbec. Grilling a tricked-out premium burger oozing with a bit of aged farmhouse cheddar would also be a most agreeable pairing. Malbec works well with all six regional styles of American BBQ, but the best pairing and winner is Texas. This is because in the best Texas Q, the beef is slowly cooked to the point that it is "falling off the bone." The most satisfying beef is cooked over hard wood and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce. So, effectively, you have the added, very pleasing synergies of umami and oak. For a vegetarian option, consider the very Malbec-friendly eggplant parmesan. Finally, with a nod to the vibrant Italians making Malbec primarily in Argentina, try a Malbec with Spaghetti and meatballs, Spaghetti Bolognese or braised Flank Steak Carbonadas.

Top Picks for Malbec

AvinoDos 2017  Malbec
96 points
Black violet color. Aromas and flavors of spiced nuts, cherry-fig chutney, coconut macaroon and cocoa nibs, and cherry blossom with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a graceful, engaging, medium-long finish with nuances of blueberry pie a la mode, cedar, roasted root vegetables, and violets with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A delicious and brawny Malbec with well-meshed flavors and mouth filing tannins; give this one some time.
Paradise Ridge 2018 Branham Vineyard Malbec
95 points
Deep purple color. Inviting aromas and flavors of boysenberry, fine leather, coconut cream, shortbread with toffee, baking spices, and black tea with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-long finish with overtones of chocolate, honey, and blackberry sorbet with moderate oak flavor. A tasty, well-balanced Malbec that’s highly pairable; a serious Malbec for the enthusiast.
Awards: 2021 Best Malbec
Basalt Cellars 2018  Malbec
94 points
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, huckleberry, blood orange, hints of mint, and vanilla with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long finish that exhibits accents of honey-roasted nuts and cafe latte with moderate oak flavor. Pure, vibrant berry flavors will delight Malbec fans.
AvinoDos 2016  Malbec
93 points
Black ruby color. Interesting aromas and flavors of caramel buttercream, berry vinaigrette, cocoa butter, sage, and lavender with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a seamless, complex, long finish with suggestions of toasted coconut with moderate oak flavor. A very distinctive, rich and decadent Malbec with a fun herbaceous nuance.
Monte De Oro 2016 Reserve Malbec
93 points
Ruby black color. Aromas of dates, chocolate babka, eucalyptus, and coconut with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length berry sorbet, hints of dried herbs, and chamomile tea finish with light oak flavor. A lighter-bodied, distinctive Malbec with a unique flavor profile.
Alamos 2018 Seleccion Malbec
92 points
Best Buy
Black violet color. Aromas of blackberry pastry, sage, black tea, toffee, and dark chocolate with a lightly tannic, full body and a long roasted dates and toasted hazelnut finish. A bold, complex Malbec with concentrated aromas; a great example of Argentine’s most famous grape.
92 points $20 Best Buy
Killka 2020 Museum Series Malbec
92 points
Best Buy
Dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate fondue with blueberries and cake, dark roasted nuts, espresso, and eucalyptus leaf with a supple, bright, fruity medium body and a polished, engaging, medium-long finish with accents of black raspberry cobbler, creme anglaise, and spiced craisins with silky tannins and moderate oak flavor. A juicy, jammy, appetizing malbec for effortless enjoyment and pairings.
92 points $14 Best Buy
Intipalka 2020  Malbec
92 points
Best Buy
Dark violet color. Aromas and flavors of huckleberry, coconut, honey-mint-herb lozenge, and black tea with a satiny, vibrant, dryish medium body and a silky, appealing, medium-length finish with accents of pine with moderate oak flavor. A juicy and distinctive Malbec that will appeal to novices and enthusiasts alike.
92 points $13 Best Buy
SonVida 2017  Malbec
92 points
Black violet color. Elegant, earthy aromas of dark chocolate, grilled nuts, creme brulee, soil, vanilla, and violets with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a complex, medium-long black cassis, plum jam, toffee, tobacco, and black tea with cream finish with heavy oak flavor. A heavily oaked, decadent Malbec with alluring complexity.
Yorkville Cellars 2018 Rennie Organic Estate Vineyard Malbec
92 points
Black ruby color. Aromas and flavors of plump blueberries, blackberry jam, graphite, and apricot granola with a satiny, crisp, dry medium-to-full body and a warming, captivating, medium-long finish that presents overtones of mocha gelato, fennel seed and peppercorns with well-integrated, chewy tannins and light oak flavor. A sturdy and serious Malbec; decant or cellar.