It is time for Malbec lovers to raise a glass. April 17th is World Malbec Day! It is a global celebration for Malbec. The easiest way to celebrate is to simply drink it. Be sure to toast this variety tomorrow, and I promise you will find yourself drinking Malbec all week long.
On 17th April 1853, the first agricultural school in Argentina was founded, in the hopes of adapting French grapes to the soils of Mendoza. This date, April 17th is a symbol of the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry and the starting point for the development of Malbec, an emblem for Argentina worldwide.
Malbec may have originated in France but it found its home in South America. Argentina has led the revival of Malbec around the globe, accounting for approximately 75% of the acres planted worldwide. The high elevation of the Andes Mountain gives Malbec structure and elegance. Argentine and Chilean Malbecs have lush ripe fruit with notes of blackberry, plum, dark cherries, chocolate and violet flowers and the wines have nice acidity and velvety tannins.
Malbec has a rich, fruity profile with nice acidity and silky tannins making it versatile enough to pair with a variety of tastes and cuisines. The obvious choice with a full-bodied, intense Malbec is grilled meats and steaks but it is versatile enough to pair with grilled vegetables, poultry and pork. For young, fresh and fruity Malbecs, consider a variety of dishes from global cuisines like Italian bolognese and pasta, Indian chicken tikka or Mexican beef burritos.
7 Malbecs To Drink Now
Malbec’s popularity and quality have steadily been on the rise, thanks to the incredible winemakers in the region. Argentinian Malbec is delicious and affordable, many offering great values from a quality perspective. This year I will be celebrating Malbec Day with these notable six wines from Argentina and one wildcard from Chile. Be sure to grab your bottles and celebrate.
ALTA VISTA Vive Malbec 2019 ($12)
Alta Vista’s Vive Malbec exhibits the true character of its grape variety. This stellar selection from Alta Vista comes from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Fresh and intense, this wine’s aromas and flavors provide an excellent introduction to the fresh, fruit-forward characteristics and overall quality of wines from Argentina.
Shows intense aromas of plum, black cherry and exotic spices, with notes of coffee and vanilla. The flavors on the palate are fresh, with good structure and soft tannins, and the finish is full and concentrated, with spice notes. This wine is quite approachable, fun and easy-to-drink, perfect for everyday consumption and for relaxed, casual food like Panini sandwiches, pizza and beef or pork empanadas.
CATENA Malbec 2018 ($24)
Cantena is considered to be a pioneer in establishing the Malbec variety in Argentina. They have shown that Malbec can be a diverse grape with a variety of expressions. This wine is produced by fourth-generation vintner, Laura Catena and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil. Catena Malbec comes from 100% estate-grown fruit that is blended from several of the family’s high-altitude vineyards.
The wine shows deep aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, with violet and lavender notes, along with traces of vanilla and mocha. Rich and concentrated in the mouth, the wine is highlighted by flavors of blueberries, blackberries, leather and cinnamon. With smooth, well-integrated tannins, the wine has bright acidity and a lengthy finish. Pair with roast turkey, grilled steak, salmon, and pasta with red sauce.
BODEGAS CARO Amancaya Reserve Red Blend 2018 ($21)
CARO was born of the alliance between two wine cultures (French and Argentine), two noble grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec), and two renowned wine families, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolás Catena. These two powerful organizations have combined their deep knowledge of Mendoza’s high altitude terroir and the art of winemaking to create a unique wine: CARO.
Amancaya is made from a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The robe is deep ruby in color. The nose is complex with aromas of cocoa, red fruits and figs layered with cinnamon and a touch of smokiness. The palate unveils seductive aromas of black fruit with very well-integrated oak. This wine has great balance and exceptional freshness. Amancaya 2018 is pleasant to drink now and offers great aging potential. A perfect wine for any grilled meat, burgers and barbecues.
BODEGA NORTON Reserva Malbec 2018($19)
Founded in 1895, Bodega Norton is one of the most awarded Argentine wine brands. Bodega Norton combines a modern, state-of-the-art facility with rich heritage and old-world charm. Situated in the foothills of the Andes mountain range, the estate boasts an average vine age between 30-80 years old across its five vineyards. These old vines help to drive richness and depth across the entire portfolio.
In the glass, there is an intense red color with purplish hues. On the nose, it is an expressive wine with ripe black fruits, violets, spices and tobacco. In the mouth, it is wide and fleshy with a lingering finish. Pair this with roasted aubergine, chile con carne or beef empanadas.
CATENA Appellation La Consulta Malbec 2018 ($24)
La Consulta is composed of 100% Malbec blended from the vineyards of La Consulta district in San Carlos, which is located in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza. The result is a pure expression of a unique terroir.
The 35-year-old vines give red and black fresh fruits flavors, sweet texture and character. Cold nights lend bright, crisp acidity, and the intense sunshine gives floral aromatics and concentrated structure to the wine. The mouthfeel is rich, with raspberries and blueberries, spice notes and a touch of mocha. The finish shows soft and well-structured tannins and great length. Pairs well with grilled mushrooms, steaks and beef tenderloin.
HIGH NOTE Malbec 2019 ($12)
Located high in the Andes foothills of Argentina’s famed Uco Valley of Mendoza, Vista del Sur is a state-of-the-art winery. Its vineyards are among the highest in the world, ranging in altitude from 3,300 to 5,000 feet. Here the grapes enjoy the perfect combination of growing elements; intense desert sunlight contrasting with cool nightly temperatures. Grapes for High Note are sourced from five vineyards that range in elevation from 3,300 to 5,000 feet.
The resulting wine has aromas of ripe red fruits with hints of spices and violets, a palate that opens with notes of plum marmalade and hints of vanilla, and a round fruit finish. A highly heralded match with grilled meats, complementing rich smoky flavors with the wine’s ripe juicy profile. Also pairs well with grilled or roasted vegetables, pasta dishes and rich sauces.
MONTES Alpha Malbec 2018 ($22)
Closing with a Chilean wild card from the Colchagua Valley. Montes was the first Chilean winery to produce and export Premium and Ultra-Premium wines. Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray pioneered winegrowing in the Apalta region of the Colchagua Valley, as well as Zapallar and Chiloé, Patagonia.
This wine is a blend of 95% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep ruby red color with an intense violet hue. The nose focuses around pronounced aromas of ripe sour cherries, violets and wildflowers, while a touch of crème de cassis, jam, and anise round out the aromatic profile. The generous palate has tremendous volume and perfectly round tannins lend structure to a long, lingering finish. Pairs very well with most red and white meats, although it is a natural fit with grilled pork and barbecue chicken. Also a very good accompaniment with beef stew, spicy beef, and Mexican mole dishes.