When we think of Argentinian wine, one thought comes to mind: a glass of full-bodied Malbec. Pair it with a night of tango dancing and empanadas and you’re in Buenos Aires! Dominantly deep fruit notes like blackberry, black cherry and plum, Argentinian Malbecs are fruit forward with occasional oaky notes and coffee, tobacco and vanilla aromas.
Although Malbec is Argentina’s flagship grape, it’s originally from Southwest France. It was a popular grape varietal in Bordeaux in the 1850s, but suffered from the phylloxera parasite which destroys the roots of the vine. The grape made it’s way to Mendoza, Argentina in the late 1800s thanks to French agronomist Michel Pouget. Malbec did very well in the high-altitude Mendoza region, which is Argentina’s biggest wine-producing area. From there the varietal spread to other regions such as Salta in the north and Patagonia in the south — the rest is history!
The Malbec grape takes on different flavors depending on terroir and climate. It does particularly well with hot days and cold nights. In colder climates, Malbec has more cherry and raspberry notes. In warmer climates, plum and blackberry stand out. Younger bottles are more fruity, and older vintages are more oaky and spicy.
Argentina’s star wine pairs perfectly with flavorful foods. Of course, the perfect pairing is a juicy cut of steak or better yet, a full asado or Argentine grill. Younger, lighter Malbecs are perfect with a leaner steak, like flank steak or filet mignon, while a full-body intense Malbec pairs well with New York strip steak or rib eye. Leaner meats like lamb and poultry pair nicely with Argentina's famed grape as well. Earthy vegetables like mushrooms and potatoes are a great accompaniment as well as herbs like pepper, rosemary and cumin. Malbec is perfect to sip on while enjoying a pasta dish or a cheese board.
Of course, Malbec (especially special bottles and vintages) is wonderful on its own. Have fun experimenting with different pairings and let us know what your favorite is! Stop by Artango to try our boutique Malbecs. Ask the bartender for a Malbec flight.
Author: Katia Alferova