Malbec

You get a lot for your money with Malbecs as their quality is really high and usually don’t cost a lot of money. Malbec wines come from two major places in the world: Argentina, about 75% of the world’s Malbec come from there, and from France. The rest of it is planted in Chile, Uruguay, and New Zealand. Malbecs do grow in other wine regions but in these two countries are where you’re going to find the majority of Malbecs.

Originally Malbecs come from France, they were grown in the western part of the country around Bordeaux. They usually used as blending grapes with high-end Bordeaux wines.

Relationships

Malbec is a cross between a little-known grape called Magdeleine Noire de Charentes and another little-known grape called Prunelard. An interesting fact that Magdeleine Noire de Charentes is also a parent of Merlot with Cabernet Franc making Malbeck and Merlot half-siblings. So Cabernet Franc is the step-parent of Malbec.

They were brought to Argentina in the mid-1800s. This grape variety does very well in Argentina. Since a lot of the vineyards, where the Malbec was planted, are located at very high altitudes.

Hot days, cool nights

Malbecs are best when they have hot days and cool nights. And this high altitude in Argentina gives Malbecs hot days to ripen and cool nights to form a lot of acidities. At higher temperatures go down helping to maintain acid in the grapes and the finished wines but also with high altitudes come greater swings between daytime high temperatures and nighttime low temperatures. And these very low nighttime temperatures also help to slow down a process called respiration. That happens at night and consumes organic compounds in the grapes. Slowing down respiration results in grapes with greater aroma, color, and flavor intensity. The high altitude also exposes grapes to more solar radiation causes the grape skins to thicken. Overall these thicken skins lead to greater tannin structure in the wine.

Food pairing tips

The combination of acid and dense fruit makes this wine a great option to pair with lots of different dishes. However, it goes especially well with roasted, well-seasoned meat dishes, and hearty vegetable dishes brimming with herbs.

Photo credit: Mauro Lima