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Argentina. Wines made from vines planted in high-altitude, mountain vineyards are widely considered to the best Malbecs in the world. Malbec is also grown in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand

What does Malbec taste like?

As with other wine grapes, the flavors of Malbec wine reflect the region and places where it’s planted. In Cahors, it can take on intense, dark, and almost meaty flavors mixed with black plum and pipe tobacco. In Bordeaux, France, Malbec can show purple plum flavors mixed with blackberry. In Mendoza, Argentina, and elsewhere, Malbecs are brimming with vivid flavors of black cherries, dark plums, blackberries, and sweet spice.

How is Malbec made?

Winemakers have a lot of freedom to these days to use different techniques in winemaking. But it all starts with picking Malbec grapes at the right time when they are sweet and ripe, with ample acidity that gives the wine freshness.

After harvesting the grapes, the stems are removed from the grape clusters, and then the grapes, juice, and seeds go into a large metal tank for cold soaking. The tannin, flavor, and color in red wine all come from the grape’s skin, so winemakers let the juice and skins soak together for a day or so.

Next, yeast is added to start fermentation. As the yeast eats the sugar in the Malbec grape juice, it turns the sugar into alcohol. As it ferments, the grape juice gets warm and bubbly because of the heat and carbon dioxide gas released during the process. Once the fermentation is over, the new wine is transferred to barrels to start aging. Aging in an oak barrel allows the flavor, aroma, and texture of the young wine to improve and mature. The barrel also can contribute subtle flavors such as vanilla, bittersweet cocoa, or coffee to the finished Malbec wine. After the winemaker decides the wine has aged long enough, it’s bottled.

Is Malbec dry or sweet?

Most Malbec is a dry red wine. When you’re talking about still wine, the word “dry” means that there is no sugar left in the wine. But even though it’s dry, Malbec wine can still be fruity with aromas and flavors of black cherry, dark plum, and blackberry.

In Argentina, some winemakers are creating late-harvest dessert wines with Malbec grapes. They leave the grapes on the vine longer than usual, hence the name late harvest. The fruit starts to dry out and pucker like a raisin, concentrating the sugars and flavors in the grape. The sweet wines made from these late harvest Malbec grapes are velvety with flavors of dark cherries and chocolate, which is similar to a port.

Do you chill Malbec?

Malbec tastes best when it’s chilled slightly. As with most red wines, you’ll want to serve Malbec at cellar temperature (55°F to 57°F).

This guideline dates to the days when most people had a cellar underneath their home for storing vegetables and other perishable foods. The cellar has a constant temperature of around 55 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit. You can store Malbec in a wine refrigerator, so you’re sure to serve it at the right temperature. Or if you don’t own a wine refrigerator, just put your Malbec into the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. That will give the wine just enough time to cool down. When red wines are slightly chilled, they feel smoother on the palate.

Is Malbec good wine?

Malbec is an outstanding red wine. Malbec wines made in Argentina’s Mendoza region are top-rated because they have dark fruit flavors, with juicy acidity and moderate alcohol.

What food does Malbec pair with?

Malbec is an excellent pairing for meaty dishes, including steak, or any red meat from the grill. Malbec also pairs well with stews and grilled mushrooms. Check out our food and wine pairing guide for more information!

Are Malbec and Merlot the same?

Malbec and Merlot are not the same grape. But these two grapes are easy to confuse because they both are popular in France, where they’re used in red Bordeaux blends. And wines from both grapes have lovely berry and chocolate notes, though Malbec has more prominent tannins and more body.

What are the popular brands of Malbec?

Total Wine & More carries many of the most popular Malbec wine brands! With such a wide selection, you can be sure to find a Malbec that you’ll like. Some of our most popular brands of Malbec include:

Browse our full selection of Malbec wine online or check out our selection of highly rated Malbec wines for a great new wine to try this week!

Want to learn more about Malbec?

Visit our Guide to Malbec to learn more about Malbec from Argentina and around the world.