Malbec is a popular red wine that achieves a smooth and sweet finish. This full-bodied wine is not overwhelmed by its moderate tannins and can achieve sweeter notes, such as vanilla, cocoa, and sweet tobacco. The mainstay of malbec is classic red and black fruit expressions such as plum and black cherry.
While often considered an affordable, fruit-forward option, there are more complex malbecs with the proper acidity for aging and acquiring fascinating notes. All malbec wine can be distinguished by its purple color with a bright magenta ring. Choose wines from Argentina and France to explore the best of malbec.
Many brands offer kosher Malbec, including:
The History of Malbec Wines
Malbec grapes originated in France, mainly used in blends, including Bordeaux wine. While the grape was popular, growing it in the French climate was challenging. Only when cuttings were brought to Argentina did the grape really begin to thrive. The high altitude in Argentina is protective of the grapes and also instills some unique local flavor, with increased acidity in comparison to French Malbecs.
Malbec grapes were grown as a staple in California before prohibition but fell off in popularity until the 1990s. Today, malbecs are often considered affordable imported wine, most of which (roughly 70 percent) originates in Argentina. However, the Argentinians and the French have produced more sophisticated and expensive malbecs, which you can also indulge in.
All Malbec is full-bodied with moderate tannins, which do not overwhelm the wine. Smooth and plush, malbecs are often an exciting experience that pairs unusual fruit flavors and spicy notes. Blueberry is the most classic flavor profile, but you can also find malbecs with cherry and plum.
Malbecs range in acidity and sweetness depending on the winemaker's treatment and can achieve sweet notes such as vanilla, cocoa, and sweet tobacco.
Food Pairings for Malbec
Choosing dishes to pair with Malbec is a balancing act. It is a well-structured wine that does not work with the lightest foods but is not so full of tannins that it requires the most potent, fatty dishes as accompaniments.
Choose middling options such as mushrooms, mild cheeses, duck, or red meat with moderate fat, and you'll be rewarded. Malbec balances out these foods and its strong fruit taste adds something enchanting to meat dishes in particular.
Of course, it is Argentinian tradition to pair Malbec with asado, and those who are curious about Malbec should try this pairing at least once. Also, consider pairing a malbec with smoky flavors to enhance the natural smokiness of the wine.
While folklore will tell you that it is best to drink most Malbec quickly, some bottlings will do exceptionally well when aged. Choose wines with moderate acidity and tannins, which can calm and develop as they age.
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