Australian Malbec wine regional and flavour profile



Malbec taste and aromas

Ripe fruit flavours of plums, black cherry and blackberry, which give the wine a jammy mouthfeel. Malbec can also display smoke, earth, leather, wild game, tobacco and white/black pepper along with a slew of high profile spices.

Malbec mouthfeel

Medium to full bodied, dry and rich red wine, with firm tannins, high acidity and high alcohol

Malbec cellaring potential

Young unoaked Malbec should be consumed quickly; Malbec aged for a few months in oak may be kept for 2 to 3 years; and full-bodied, heavy Malbec can age well in the bottle for a decade.

Facts about Malbec

  • Malbec is a black-skinned grape variety native to France, perhaps now better known as the main red wine grape of Argentina
  • Malbec was a relatively forgotten red wine variety in the industry until about a decade ago, but thanks to Argentina there is now a great deal of interest in the variety.
  • In the early 1990’s, red wine had a lot of publicity around its health benefits. Research indicating that the presence of certain polyphenols called oligomeric procyandins (OPS) in Malbec have antioxidant characteristics with health benefits such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and it just so happens that Malbec and Tannat are the varieties with the most OPS.
  • According to the Wine Spectator’s wine critic Matt Kramer: “There is no greater value in red wine anywhere in the world today than Argentine malbec”, which is deeply coloured, spicily rich with an exuberant juiciness and has as a trademark an almost velvety texture.

Australian regions that produce Malbec

Malbec is grown in warm and cool regions in Australia including Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Rutherglen, Hunter Valley, Orange, Mudgee, Granite Belt, and Swan Hill. In hot regions of Australia, the acidity of the wine may be too low which can cause the wine to taste flabby and weak.

Malbec originated in the Cahors Region in South West France, where it reached legendary status in pre-Phylloxera times. The Cahors region took a long time to recover from that disaster, and as a region has only recently gained more than local recognition.

The grapes susceptibility to frost has done little to endear the variety to European vignerons, but in the higher, drier climes of South America, particularly Argentina, Malbec has come into its own. Through it success in the vineyards of Mendoza, in a few short decades Malbec has shot to fame, simultaneously bringing new-found attention and respect to Argentina as a wine-producing nation. Introduced to Argentina by French agricultural engineer Michel Pouget in 1868, Malbec is widely planted in Argentina producing a softer, less tannic-driven variety than the wines of Cahors. The variety served as the “workhorse” variety for many years, producing ordinary everyday drinking varieties, and has grown in complex and high quality wines at acceptable price point in the North American and European markets, so an export boom began.

Malbec is also grown in Washington State, New Zealand, South Africa, British Columbia, the Long Island AVA of New York, Oregon, southern Bolivia, north-eastern Italy and recently in Texas and southern Ontario, and in the Baja California region of Mexico.

What food to pair with Malbec

As one of the world’s most versatile, food-friendly wines with an easy to swallow price tag, Malbec brings an abundance of fruit character, smoke and spice and often a broad stroke of minerality to the table in a typically full-bodied, dry red wine.

As a result, it pairs with a variety of barbecued, braised, stewed and spiced meat selections. From game to lamb and beef to brats, and can handle a slew of spicy sauces, various ethnic edibles and the heavy demands of a backyard grill.

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