One of the six Bordeaux grapes, Malbec is a grape known for its deep color and robust tannin structure. Known for its popularity in France and Argentina, Malbec has developed a strong following in the America for its mysterious, intense fruity flavor.
Malbec produces a thin-skinned grape that requires sunlight and heat to mature, but also needs cool evenings to develop its acidity or else it may taste weak and watery. Malbec can be trellised or left to grow as a bush, and both are common depending on where it's produced. Due to its susceptibility to frost, mildew, and disease, Malbec has a relatively low yield that produces smaller berries that are complex and rich in flavor.
Malbec is dark and purple in color with a range in tannin structure from mild to medium depending on when the grapes were harvested. The wines have aromas of raisins, violets, garlic and the occasional hint of smoke. Malbec has a complex flavor of blackberry, black currant, leather and tobacco.
Malbec features a flavor profile similar to that of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but with much softer tannins. The softer tannins allow Malbec to pair with leaner meats such as chicken, lamb, and pork. The complex flavors of Malbec also pair well to the tangy, spicy flavor of barbecue sauce and the distinctive flavor of charcoal grilling. When pairing with cheese, look for an Iberico or Manchego as their flavors pair well with Malbec.