When thinking of Malbec, the beautiful wine region Mendoza in Argentina, located at the foot of the Andes first comes in my mind.
Although the Malbec grape has its origin in the Cahors region in France, Argentina is now the main producer of Malbec and home to nearly 70% of the Malbec vineyards of the world. Today, Malbec is the flagship variety of Argentina. The country provides ideal conditions for the cultivation of Malbec. While the grape is very sensitive to cool temperatures, it produces dark, intensely ripe and long-living wines in the warm climate of Argentina with softer tannins and stronger fruit flavors than in France.
“Good Argentine Malbec, and there is a great deal of it for Argentina is one of the world’s most prolific wine producers, is deeply coloured, spicily rich with an exuberant juiciness and has as a trademark an almost velvety texture”.
Malbec at a glance
Characteristics of a Malbec
Malbec’s most significant characteristic is its intense dark color. The wines are velvety with flavours of plum, black cherries and red fruit marmelade framed in sweet tannins- in some cases it is reminiscent of cooked fruit, depending on when the grapes were harvested and on which altitude. When it is aged in oak, it develops coffee, vanilla and chocolate aromas. The wines usually have a good ageing potential.
Food pairings with Malbec
I believe it is the best wine to pair with a great barbecue or as it is called in Argentina “ asado”. Grilled meat, red meats but also hard cheese or a delicious italian pasta with a tomato sauce pairs very well with a glass of Malbec.
The highest vineyards in the world
Malbec thrives very well in high altitudes: In 1992 Nicolas Catena, Argentine winemaking pioneer, was looking for cooler climates and dared to plant vineyards at 1500 meters elevation, where vines have never been planted before. Since the 1990s, many other wine makers in Argentina were following Nicloas Catena and planting vineyards at ever higher altitudes in order to extend the growing season and increase the levels of natural acidity and flavour.
The highest vineyards in the world are located in the Salta region in Argentina and planted with Malbec vines at an altitude of 3111 meters above sea level (by Colomé Winery from Donald Hess).
And finally, here are three great Malbec wines you should not miss to try – the favourite ones of our team:
Chris: Vilafonté Series M 2010 (Coastal Region, Southafrica): “Elegant blend of Malbec and Merlot. It’s worth a try! “
Christoph: Bressia (Monteagrelo Malbec): Bressia is a boutique family winery in the heart of Mendoza in Argentina! “Small and excellent- it’s a real treat!”
Frauke: Catena Alta (Catena Zapata, Mendoza): A fantastic wine from Bodega Catena Zapata, sourced from the Catena family vineyard “Angelica” on a altitude of around 1000 meters. “A barbeque with friends, a warm summer evening and a glass of Catena Alta makes the perfect day”
Let us know your favourite Malbec wines- we are always happy to try a great bottle of wine.
Frauke and the YourWineEstate.com team
(Pictures: photography by Frauke Kausch)