Malbec World Day, now in its sixth year, is a celebration of Malbec organised by Wines of Argentina. You can find out more on their main event website. But what is Malbec and why should you get excited?
It’s a full-bodied red wine that grows mostly in Argentina.
It is known for its plump dark fruit flavours and smoky finish, so Malbec offers a great alternative to higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah varietals.
Malbec (sometimes called Côt and Auxxerois) is originally from France where it grows in the Sud-Ouest. The thick-skinned grape is a natural cross of two esoteric varieties that are from Montpellier (in Languedoc-Roussilon) and Gaillac in the Sud-Ouest. Today the majority of France’s Malbec is found in Cahors, a small town on the river Lot that gently flows towards Bordeaux.
Malbec quickly became common as a blending grape in Bordeaux’s top 5 wine grapes. However, because of the grapes’ poor resistance to weather and pests, it never surfaced as a top French variety. Instead, it found a new home in Mendoza, Argentina where a nostalgic French botanist planted it by order of the mayor in 1868.
(Courtesy of Wine Folly)
ARGENTINA: The main fruit flavours in a glass of Argentine Malbec are blackberry, plum and black cherry. The nuanced flavours offer milk chocolate, cocoa powder, violet flowers, leather and, depending on the amount of oak ageing, a sweet tobacco finish.
FRANCE: While Argentine Malbec is fruit forward, France is quite the opposite. Malbec from the Cahors region is, at first, leathery with flavours of tart currant, black plum and savoury bitterness often described as green. French Malbecs, from the Loire and Cahors, have higher acidity which attributes to flavours described as black pepper and spice. Because of their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol, French Malbec wines tend to age longer.
Malbec is an Umami lover. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec doesn’t have a super long finish. Because of this, Malbec is great with leaner red meats (for example ostrich). The wine does extremely well with funky flavours like blue cheese and rustic flavours like mushrooms and cumin spice.
Dark meat poultry and lean red meat. Malbec also pairs well with earthy flavours too, such as beef brisket, duck, chicken leg, lamb, beef, ostrich, buffalo, and pork shoulder.
Spices and Herbs
Look for spices that have earthy or smoky flavours such as: Parsley, Sumac, Thyme, Rosemary, Porcini, Smoked Paprika, Black Pepper, Cumin, Coriander, Juniper Berry, Clove, Vanilla Bean, Garlic, Shallot, Green Onion, or Barbecue Sauce.
You find a lot of these spices in Lebanese cuisine, so Malbec is a natural choice.
Look for funky and rich soft to semi-firm cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses.
Luigi Bosca; Argentina 2012
This is an intense purple colour wine, with distinct aromas of ripe red fruits, spices and black pepper. The intensity of the entry in the mouth is complemented with the softness and sweetness of tannins, respecting the characteristics of the grape variety in Argentina. A pure, full-bodied, well-structured red wine with character and all the juiciness typical of this variety. A long lingering and elegant finish.