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
$42
A delicious and brawny Malbec with well-meshed flavors and mouth filing tannins; give this one some time.
Awards: 2022 Best Malbec
Paradise Ridge 2018 Branham Vineyard Malbec
95 points
$58
A tasty, well-balanced Malbec that's highly pairable; a serious Malbec for the enthusiast.
Awards: 2021 Best Malbec
Pampa 2022 Estate Malbec
94 points
$9
Best Buy
A simple but extremely well executed Malbec that makes you crave dinner at an Argentinean steakhouse.
94 points $9 Best Buy
Basalt Cellars 2018  Malbec
94 points
$28
Pure, vibrant berry flavors will delight Malbec fans.
Pampa 2019 Family Reserve Malbec
93 points
$29
A rich, well structured wine that paints a story and you can almost envision the Gauchos with their cattle.
Proverbial 2017  Malbec
93 points
$16
Best Buy
Dark and earthy with fruit shining through make this a delicious pairing with smoked meats.
Awards: '2022 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under'
93 points $16 Best Buy
Proverbial 2016  Malbec
93 points
$16
Best Buy
A rich Malbec with really integrated tannins and loads of crushed blue fruit that would pair beautifully with a well charred steak.
Awards: '2022 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under' Best Value US Malbec
93 points $16 Best Buy
Malbicho 2021  Malbec
93 points
$10
Best Buy
A big, well-balanced chewy red wine with black and blue fruits, texture and personality; would sidle up quite nicely to grilled meats, strong cheeses or charcuteries
93 points $10 Best Buy
AvinoDos 2016  Malbec
93 points
$42
A very distinctive, rich and decadent Malbec with a fun herbaceous nuance.
Monte De Oro 2016 Reserve Malbec
93 points
$90
A lighter-bodied, distinctive Malbec with a unique flavor profile.