Malbec -- Rich dark fruits flavor, full-bodied


A powerful red wine, Malbec is getting popular attention in America and many wine merchants and critiques are equally recommending a lot for Argentina Malbec in recent years. I remember when I first time tasted Argentina Malbec in late 1990th, I was invited by small group of wineries from there, but thought it was dark inky wines and could not found anything interesting flavors for market value (because it wasn’t food friendly), even they were pretty cheap at the time. In past a few years I had been tasted quite few new Malbec from Argentina and have recognized absolute their improvement of quality but also found higher prices, some of them are amazingly expensive. Production of Malbec wine from Chile, Australia, Washington State and California is also gaining popularity in the U.S.



Malbec is dark-colored, tannic, quite intense full-bodied wine from an old grape varietal originated from France’s southwest. It has been traditionally popular for as an important blending wine to Bordeaux Blend (Cabinet Sauvignon and Merlot based wines), along with Cabinet Frank and Petit Verdot. However Malbec’s single varietal wines’ reputation has been long in the history in Europe, particularly the area of Cahors, 100 miles east of Bordeaux, 60 miles noth of Toulouse, and the area is surrounded by produceing one of France's best food and traditional cuisine of the Midi/South West.
Cahors’ Malbec wines (AOC) are quite different from new world Malbec wines. Cahors’s Malbec wines are lighter, taste and flavor of dark fruits (plum and cherry, blackberry) are elegant (not too jammy) and food friendly. It was mentioned preferred red wine by American author Ernest Hemingway, some Popes, Russian Tsars. 


Cahors is a small wine region located southwest of France, a half way between Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Their dominant red wine is bold, full-body and rich, also “birth place” of Malbec wine. Cahors is not well known in America but it has great reputation in Europe and luckily you may often find them very reasonable price here (about $15 - $25 range). When I had the grand winery tour in Bordeaux in 2002, a friend of mine, young French wine merchant introduced me the wine and I immediately fall in love with it, and the wine made me to visit there for a couple days before going back to Paris. 


It is pretty bold/big wine but sophisticated silky taste and delicious ripe dark fruits flavor. It is far different from Argentina’s. It is perfectly suit for meat stew or roast duck at this time of year, and grilled meats (beef or lamb), poultry and vegetables when in the hot season. Last week I served Cahors Malbec for roast salmon with tarragon cream sauce, potatoes, green chard, and then aged cow’s milk cheeses. My guests absolutely loved it. Try finding good Malbec you enjoy!


Note. Highly recommend to decanting Malbec wine, at least one or two hour before serving even it is young wine. You will discover the difference; nose, taste and flavors from decanting than not dong.

Flavors/aromas:
Red plum, dark cherry, blackberry, vanilla, chocolate

Character/structure:
Dark purple color, medium to full bodied. Mild acidity but a bit tannic, and has rich dark fruit flavors. High alcohol content (typically about 13.5-14%). Malbec does not have long lasting finish but good Malbec has smooth chocolate like texture.

Food Pairing with Malbec:
Stewed meat, roast duck, Cassoulet (meat, sausage and bean stew), burger, grilled meat (beef, lamb, and sausage), grilled poultry and vegetables. Stuffed pepper or tomatoes. Wild mushroom, aged cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses.

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