This inky grape has become the most planted in Argentina, where it produces varietal (one-grape) wine that's characteristically deeply colored, rich with fruit and velvety in texture, but with enough structure and tannin to age well too. Malbec is also grown in France, the US, and around the world, but in these regions more often is blended with Cabernet and Merlot to make a smooth Bordeaux or Meritage (US-based but Bordeaux-style) blend.
Its fruit flavors tend towards the dark end of the spectrum—blackberry, blueberry, and especially plum. Often aged in oak, it may also present some typical vanilla and wood flavors. Look for a bright, magenta rim on the deep purple-black color; that's a typical Malbec "tell".
Pair it with foods that are typically difficult—lean or gamey meats, funky cheeses and rustic, earthy flavors like mushroom or cumin. Malbec is surprisingly accommodating, and will show off your interesting cuisine to best effect.Shop Malbec
© 2013 ABC Fine Wine & Spirits.