Today you can find many excellent Malbec’s produced here in the United States, and if you haven’t tried this awesome grape, you should think about it next time you see one on the menu. Although relatively new to the U.S. this grape’s home and originator was France, but has been produced for many years in Argentina. Here in California it is often found in “Bourdeaux-style” wines or Meritage.
The Malbec Grape was introduced to Argentina well over a hundred years ago from France, where it was and still is used for blending their excellent Bordeaux wines. Today you will find that after developing this vine over the years, it now is used in Argentina not only as a blend with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but also produced, bottled and sold on its own as Malbec.
What makes the Malbec produced in Argentina special and distinctive to this wine region of the world, is that the grapes are grown at such a high altitude. With vineyards growing Malbec and other varietals at elevations of 5000-10,000 feet, along with much cooler temperatures, the grapes produced are thicker skinned. The thicker skins produce a more robust wine because of the higher tannin level and higher acidity. These are wines that do very well over time when stored in proper conditions and allowed to mature.
The vineyards and grapes produced at lower elevations produce much thinner skins, thus they produce much milder wines, light in body, more juice to each grape, a wine that can be enjoyed now without any further aging. The vineyards of Argentina are set up perfectly for Malbec production, a grape that needs much control of its growth. Because there is little in Argentina, all vineyards use irrigation of plants that control the growth and development of the fruit. This produces the small, juicy, dark grapes having excellent concentration of flavor needed for a great Malbec wine.
What you can expect from a Malbec wine produced in Argentina is a very dark red or sometimes appearing black wine, deep and rich in flavor, that portrays the wine region of Argentina it was produced in. With its flavors of black currant, raspberries, plumbs, cherry, and notes of spice and vanilla, prepare your taste buds for an experience of delight and depth of flavor in each bottle. You will also find that most Malbec produced in Argentina is aged in oak, so expect that to show up on your palate.
One of my favorite Malbec’s produced in the states is by Charles Creek Vineyards, Sonoma California. This is a 100% varietal, very fruit forward red, with cocoa, spice and vanilla, smooth tannins, and a slight leather on the nose. I recently enjoyed this delicious Malbec with spicy barbecued chicken off my grill. Previously heavy peppered steaks proved delightful also.
Malbec is a great red when you are looking for that perfect wine to serve with your next grilling day.