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Malbec

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, new world regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the old world, particularly the Cahors region of southwest France, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

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  • Norton Malbec Reserva 2014
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • RP 90
    • WS 90
    Currently Unavailable $15.99
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  • Catena Zapata Argentino Vineyard Malbec 2012
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • JS 98
    • RP 94
    • WS 92
    • V 92
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  • Trivento Malbec Reserve 2015
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • D 95
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  • Luca Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
    • RP 93
    • JS 90
    • V 90
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  • Vinaceous Voodoo Moon Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Margaret River, Australia
    • JH 94
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  • Zuccardi Q Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
    • JS 92
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  • Catena Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • D 90
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  • Catena Alta Malbec 2013
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • RP 94
    • WW 94
    • JS 94
    • D 92
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  • BenMarco Malbec 2013
    Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
    • RP 92
    • JS 92
    • V 90
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  • Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec 2014
    Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • JS 95
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  • Red Schooner Voyage 4
    Malbec from Argentina
    • WW 90
    Currently Unavailable $49.99
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  • Amalaya Malbec 2016
    Malbec from Salta, Argentina
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    • Tilia Malbec 2014
      Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
      • RP 90
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    • Enrique Foster Reserva Malbec 2011
      Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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      • Vina Cobos Branmare Rebon Vineyard Malbec 2013
        Malbec from Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
        • WE 91
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      • Tomero Reserva Malbec 2014
        Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
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        • Don Rodolfo Malbec 2015
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • JS 90
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        • Bodega Aleanna El Enemigo Malbec 2012
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • WE 93
          • WS 92
          • V 90
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        • Alamos Malbec 2015
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • RP 89
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        • Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2014
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • JS 91
          • WE 90
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        • Belasco de Baquedano Llama Malbec 2015
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • JS 92
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        • Bodegas Renacer Punto Final Malbec Reserva 2013
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • RP 89
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        • Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2012
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • RP 95
          • WW 94
          • V 93
          • WE 92
          • W&S 92
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          119 99
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        • Bodegas Renacer Punto Final Malbec Classico 2015
          Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
          • W&S 90
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        • Montes Alpha Series Malbec 2013
          Malbec from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
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