17th April is Malbec World Day; an excuse to crack open a bottle of Malbec and ponder the following facts about this grape.
- The Malbec grape originated in South West France and is believed to have been brought to Argentina in 1853 by Michel Aimé Pouget
- Despite its origins Argentina, especially the Mendoza region, is seen as the grape’s saviour and Argentina grows by far the most Malbec in the world
- Black grape, Malbec, is also known as Côt or Auxerrois in the South West of France, especially Cahors, and in the Loire
- It is one of the varieties permitted though not often seen in the red Bordeaux appellations of Bordeaux
- Wines can be 100% varietal like Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec
- But Malbec is also a good blending partner – often paired with the more austere and tannic grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. However it can work well with several others for example:
- Malbec with Petit Verdot & Tannat in Luigi Bosca's Gala 1 and
- Malbec with Syrah & Cabernet Franc in Flechas de los Andes' Gran Corte
- Malbec with Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon in Pyros Special Blend
- Argentinian Malbec has smaller berries and smaller bunches than French Malbec leading to richer, deeper, more concentrated flavours
- Typical flavour characteristics for Malbec: black cherries, raspberry, plum, blackberry and blueberry, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, violets, leather, black pepper and if oaked, vanilla and coconut.
- With medium acidity and tannins, Malbec is not hugely ageworthy but good wines will keep 5 to 10 years. It is almost always full-bodied
- In Argentina Malbec has a preference for altitude, retaining acidity and aromas better by ripening over a longer period when grown well at the cooler higher altitudes and thus having better ageing potential
- Malbec makes a perfect wine for barbeques given its soft tannins and sweet fruitiness. Also good to drink with a good steak (Argentinean of course!), other beef dishes including chilli con carne and other spiced dishes, lamb including tagines, venison, game casseroles, strong flavoured offal, roasted vegetables, onions, mushrooms, strong cheeses and chocolate
- If you like Malbec, you might also like a Carmenère from Chile, Côtes du Rhône wines or a Syrah/ Shiraz
© Wines With Attitude Limited, www.wineswithattitude.co.uk
Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.
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