#Winesday: All About Malbec

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Happy Wednesday Winos! You made it through half the work week, and that calls for some celebration. We’re kicking off this #Winesday with a personal favorite: Malbec.

Malbec is one of those wines that most people have definitely heard of, but few really know anything specific about it. What do you say we change that? 

It all started with a blend

Malbec is a full-bodied red wine originating from France. These days, however, nearly 70 percent of the world’s Malbec vineyards reside in Argentina. Why is that? Well, when Malbec grapes first started growing in France, the thick-skinned grape was highly susceptible to diseases and rotting, so it became a common grape to make red blends with. Basically, the poor grapes weren’t strong enough to stand alone in their own bottle. Tragic. Around the mid-nineteenth century though, it was suggested that Malbec grapes be planted in Mendoza, Argentina, to improve the area’s quality of wine. In Mendoza’s hot temperatures and high-altitude, the Malbec grape thrived. Eventually, the grape made its way back to France, and now inhabits Cahors (a small town near Bordeaux).

So how did this French-turned-Argentinian grape make its way to the US and your oversized wine glass? It all started with a few winos on the hunt for a wine that was both delicious and affordable. With Malbec’s similar qualities to Merlot, and a much more attractive price tag, it gained popularity quickly. Its bold taste and rich flavors helped increase its reputation as an affordable alternative to more expensive red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Malbec's characteristics

When first poured, you’ll notice that Malbec has a slight purple hue in addition to its dark red color. The color is so dark that you can hardly see through the glass. As you sip away, you’ll taste black cherry, pomegranate and even plum. As you swirl and sniff to aerate your red, you’ll smell notes of black pepper, cocoa, and even milk chocolate. Salivating? Same here. Malbec has a medium acidity and tannin level, which gives it a slightly tart taste.

What to pair with your favorite Malbec

Malbec goes great with lean red meats, beef brisket, pork shoulder, and even duck if you’re feeling adventurous. Earthy, smoky spices like parsley, rosemary, and garlic will help enhance your Malbec’s flavor. Although a little nontraditional, even barbeque sauce can also bring out more of the wine’s natural flavors. If cheese is more your style, pair this red with semi-firm asiago, gouda or goat cheese. Pro tip: melt your cheese on some veggies like mushrooms or potatoes. The peppery flavors in these foods will compliment the undertones of your Malbec.

Right about now, I’m craving a heavy pour of Malbec. In the spirit of authenticity, my go-to is this Lost City Malbec, straight from Mendoza, Argentina. Grab your bottle, your favorite sweatpants and a corkscrew and you’re ready to celebrate Wine Wednesday.


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