Pronouced Mahl-beck. A grape varietal, used in the production of red wines, originating in the Bordeaux, Loire, and Cahors regions of France. Malbec is a major varietal in Argentina and is also grown in Chili, Australia, the United States, and Italy. Rarely sold as a 100% varietal, Malbec is one of six grape varietal approved in Bordeaux, France for the production of wine. Although originating in France, it is rarely produced there in the modern day. The Malbec grape is used in Bordeaux blends, Argentine reds, and is blended with varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Gamay, and Tannat.
Also known as: Auxerrois (unrelated to Auxerrois Blanc), Cot, Malbeck, and Pressac.
Characteristics: Intense inky color, varies from medium to full bodied, rustic, potent, rich, and earthy. May present with hints of dark chocolate, plum, anise, blackberry, and smoke. Soft with high tannins.
Ageing: Argentina Malbecs benefit from some oak ageing. Bordeaux, France Malbecs are short lived.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 64º-68º F.
Food pairings: Red meat, cajun cuisine, calzone, cannelloni with meat, poultry, vegetable couscous, steak creole, Greek cuisine, deviled eggs, hummus, Indian cuisine, leg of lamb, Mexican cuisine with meat and chicken, Pâté, pizza, potato salad, spinach soufflé, and pasta.