Malbec makes big, meaty red wines, which are full of lots of dark, spicy damson and bramble fruits. Perhaps slightly less well known than its Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon cousins, but by no means lacking in taste, Malbec displays clear characteristics of each. Here, we get to know it a little more.
Malbec is probably most well known for its presence in Argentina but it actually originates from France, where it was used as a component in the great blends from Bordeaux. Unfortunately it fell out of favour in the 1950’s when over 75% of the crop was destroyed by frost. Malbec is still found in France today but in Cahors in the South West of France, where is used to make the extremely dark, rich red wines known as the Black Wines of Cahors.
Argentina’s National Treasure
It was during the late 19th century when Malbec cuttings were taken to Argentina and ever since then the country has become the new homeland of this globetrotting little grape. Mendoza is the dominant wine region where, with its high altitude, hours of sunlight and little rainfall, the growing conditions are perfect for growing Malbec. Malbec from here is just as dark, smooth and spicy as its French equivalents but it is often fruitier, due to the effects of the shimmering Argentinean sunshine.
Travelling Little Grape
It isn’t just France and Argentina where Malbec is grown. You can find it just about anywhere from Chile through to Italy and from Spain to Australia. However, it is worth knowing that it has a number of different names around the world. In the south west of France and sometimes Argentina it is known as Cot, in Cahors look out for Auxerrois and in Portugal its called Tinta Amerala.
Malbec is a great food wine, particularly when matched with meat. Malbec is full of body and tannins, which means that it does a great job in standing up to the all the flavours in a big piece of beef or steak. The sweetish flavour of sticky ribs reacts well to big fruity Malbecs. Cahors wines and the more tannic Old World styles from Argentina are better with plainer, chewier meats such as roast beef.
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Louise Truswell works in the wine industry. She has been writing about wine for couple of years and likes writing about Malbec. For more information and to choose from a selection of Malbec, visit - www.virginwines.com
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