Malbec

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While its history lies in Southern France, it's the wines from Mendoza in Argentina that have captured the attention of wine drinkers around world. Read about malbec
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Dark, rich and robust, malbec makes wine that suits lovers of full-bodied reds, so it’s no surprise that it is on the rise in Australia.

What kind of wine is malbec?

Malbec is a full-bodied red wine that originated in France, and is one of the six sacred wines allowed to be used in Bordeaux blends. But just as Australia unashamedly steals anything good that comes from New Zealand, Argentina has taken malbec from France and made it its own. Where the French mainly use malbec in blends, Argentina, and to a lesser extent Australia, have seen its potential as a standalone varietal and haven’t looked back.

Malbec is a weighty, plush, berry-driven wine, while medium acidity and tannin give it nice balance. It is famous for its deep purple colour, and its perfection as a pairing with red meat.

Is malbec dry or sweet?

Any wine that has less than 5 grams of residual sugar added during the production process is termed ‘dry’. Unfortified reds generally have zero residual sugar added to them, so are all technically dry. Malbec is no exception.

But the terms ‘dry’ and ‘sweet’ can be confusing – wine, after all, is just an adult form of fruit juice. When many amateur wine drinkers refer to the sweetness of a wine, they’ll often mean the fruitiness, which is measured on a flavour scale that ranges from ‘earthy’ to ‘fruity’. On this scale, malbec is one of the fruitiest reds available, with heavy notes of berry and plum dominating the palate. If you do indeed want a wine reminiscent of fruit juice, malbec is a fantastic choice.

What wine is malbec similar to?

Many merlot drinkers move onto malbec – the acid and tannin levels are similar, and both are balanced, smooth and oaky reds. Malbec is the more complex of the two though, and will offer a budding wine connoisseur a more exciting and challenging experience.

And on the other side of the equation, many people see shiraz as the logical next step for a faithful malbec drinker, such are the similarities. In many ways shiraz is malbec’s older sibling – similar flavours in a more tannic, acidic and complex setting.

Where does the best malbec come from?

Hunting for a quality malbec? Aim your sights at one of the following regions:
Argentina: Now considered the home of malbec, Argentina has made the grape its own. Choose a 100% varietal from the high altitude soils of the Mendoza region, and get ready to fall in love (and make room in your cellar for more.)
France: While Bordeaux might be its birthplace, there malbec is still treated as a blend wine only. The real engine room of French malbec is the Cahors region, where it’s been used for centuries as a standalone wine.
Australia: The fussiness of the malbec vine has seen Australian vintners develop a love/hate relationship with it, but many great examples of Australian malbec can be found in the Langhorne Creek and Clare Valley regions.