Mad About Malbec

   By ChefErin  Aug 11, 2010

My passion in life is food--and as an extension of that food and wine. When you drink a wine that pairs perfectly with what you are eating the combination is heavenly -- like lying on a blanket with your love under a canopy of stars. Yes, romantic. I think the marriage of food and wine is very romantic. 

So the food I am eating dictates the wine that I am thinking about. Lately, I’ve been barbequing so I’ve been thinking about and drinking wines that pair well with grilling. If you read my Parsley piece, you saw that I suggested pairing the vibrantly herbaceous Chimichurri Sauce with a glass of Argentine Malbec.
A few years ago, I tried my first Argentine Malbec and fell in love. Argentina is the 5th largest wine producing nation in the world so chances are (especially if you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s nearby) that you have tried an Argentine wine. Argentina grows many grapes that you may be familiar with like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as well as a few you might not have heard of like Torrontes, Tempranilla and Malbec. The best Malbec, arguably, comes from the Mendoza region -- don’t tell the French. Actually, about 70 percent of all Argentinian wine comes from Mendoza.
By now you are probably wondering how Malbec tastes. Like any varietal, the flavor and body vary depending on where the grapes are grown and who is making the wine. In general, Malbec from the Mendoza region are described as dark, juicy, and ripe, like black cherries or plums. You might also notice subtle chocolate or spice notes, and a hint of vanilla from the oak barrels. The body (or the perceived weight the wine in your mouth) will be medium to full like the difference between whole milk and half and half according the Karen MacNeil, of The Wine Bible.
What to look for: Malbec from Argentina, specifically the Mendoza region.
Price: You should be able to find a pretty good wine starting around $8 to $12 per bottle.
What to eat it with: Take a tip from Argentina, land of asado (barbecue) and try a Malbec the next time you are grilling steak or lamb (that you’ll serve with Chimichurri Sauce). It’s a good match for roast beef or beef stew. It’s also a great wine for pizza night with a mushroom and/or sausage pizza.
Have you ever tried Malbec? Was is from Argentina or France? If you’ve tasted both, which you prefer? Do you have a favorite winery for Malbec?

Make a Comment

ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
Oct 14, 2010

Garresa - That is a wonderful point! I like to think of wine as an element of the meal, like a side dish or sauce. When you get a good pairing, you know it and it makes the whole meal better. Thanks for the comment. ~ Chef Erin

garresa by garresa | Columbus, OH
Sep 29, 2010

I love Malbecs, I first had it at Brio with vodka sauce pasta dish. This pairing taught my husband that a good wine can bring notes out in the food that you cannot taste without the wine.

patriciaanugent by patriciaanugent | MOON TWP, PA
Sep 25, 2010

Have been trying more and more Malbecs, both my husband and I are enjoying them as much as old favorites

ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
Sep 01, 2010

MsFriendly & Jrc3168 - Let me know what you think when you have a chance to try a Malbec. I'd love your feedback! ~ Chef Erin

Jrc3168 by Jrc3168 | Bronx, NY
Aug 31, 2010

I usually prefer white wines, but I am always looking for new wines to try, so I will add this to my list. There is a wine store around here that always seems to have tastings; hopefully they will have a Malbec soon.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Aug 17, 2010

I can't wait to try this one! Sounds great!

nvanlaanen by nvanlaanen | Minneapolis, MN
Aug 13, 2010

This has quickly become my favorite wine. It packs a lot of flavor and you can find more reasonably priced bottles when compared to a good Pino Noir

momograd by momograd | West Chester, PA
Aug 12, 2010

Malbec is my absolute favorite!! I had it in England many years ago and it was hard to find here in the states. Now that is more popular I find it a bit more easily but I do sometimes have to search. I've introduced many of my friends to Malbec and they got hooked too. The first time I asked for it in a store I insisted it was from Australia, it took a bit of figuring out that what I meant was Argentina. I prefer the Mendoza region over the French Mabec.

jlindseyc by jlindseyc | LEXINGTON, KY
Aug 11, 2010

I was introduced to Malbec's a few years back and love them! I have had the Argentinian variety. I prefer full bodied red wines which is how this was reccomended to me. I can't think of a favorite winery off the top of my head, but will have to look and see. I also appreciate how you can find a really nice Malbec at such a low price point!