The Malbec grape, originally hailing from France, is now predominantly grown in Argentina. Although it's considered a secondary grape variety in traditional Bordeaux wine blends, it flourishes remarkably as a standalone variety in the towering altitudes of Argentina's Mendoza region. Notable for its robust, alluringly dark fruit profiles and tannic structure, Malbec gained popularity in the global wine scene by offering exceptional value and appealing flavours.
Malbec grapes yield intensely coloured skinned berries, resulting in full-bodied wines with a deep, rich, purple hue. They are usually high in alcohol content and boast of an abundance of ripe red and black fruits such as plum, blackberry and cherry. Smoky, spice overlaid notes along with dark chocolate and vanilla nuances are also common, mostly due to the traditional ageing in oak barrels.
The key attraction of Malbec is its supple, velvety texture and smooth, rounded tannins to create intense yet easy drinking wines. This, coupled with its moderate acidity, renders it the perfect accompaniment to various grilled meats and rich dishes - a factor contributing significantly to its popularity.
Despite the majority of Malbec vines now thriving in Argentina, there are also some key cultivations in its native region of Cahors in southwest France, where it's oftentimes referred to as ‘Cot’. Here, Malbec presents a more rustic, tannic expression embroidered with more savoury notes, as opposed to the fruit-forward style flaunted by its Argentinian counterpart.
Over the years, the Malbec grape has highlighted a fascinating lesson in viticulture — the environment in which the vine grows can dramatically impact the character of the resulting wine. And of course, the grape’s far-reaching appeal has demonstrated the universal appetite for approachable, bold-flavoured wines that offer both quality and value.
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