Red wine and food.

Top Malbec Wine Pairings

Malbec is a lively, entertaining red wine with origins in France. However, you are probably more familiar with Malbec as a product of Argentina or Chile. Argentina is credited with “saving” Malbec wine as the environment and climate of Argentine vineyards is perfect for Malbec grapes and they flourish when planted there. France, and other wine regions like Napa Valley, still do produce Malbec wines, and many of them are excellent. Due to the different growing conditions and soil, the taste of Malbec wine varies greatly depending on the region in which the wine was produced. Argentine and Chilean Malbec wines are famous for their intensely fruity, luxurious Malbec wines while French Malbecs are more commonly referred to as earthy or green wines. Still, no matter what Malbec region you select a wine from, there are plenty of food options for Malbec pairing. Here are some of our very favorite, and most delicious, Malbec pairings.

Charcuterie Platter

Appetizers
Malbec can take you through your entire meal from appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to dessert despite the region. If you plan on serving a Malbec with a light, fruity taste, then you could prepare a traditional charcuterie platter or serve some smoky, cured beef as a starter. Cheeses that pair with all styles of Malbec include Manchego, Iberico, Taleggio and Cashel Blue. You can also serve with farmhouse cheddar or a mellow blue such as Stilton.

Lamb dish

Main Courses
This is where Malbec truly shines. There are so many options when it comes to pairing Malbec with your entree. Malbec is excellent red meat and darker poultry meat. It also pairs well with earthier flavors, like a brisket, as well. One of the most popular pairings with Malbec is lamb. Try lamb shanks, a lamb stew or a spicy lamb curry. Beef is another frequent choice of meat to pair with Malbec and you have virtually unlimited options. Serve Malbec with a juicy hamburger, a hearty steak or serve with a cozy roast beef. If you want to enjoy Malbec with a super simple dinner you can make with little preparation, consider serving spaghetti and meatballs of American style spaghetti bolognese. Another option for a beef dinner that requires a bit of prep but is easy to throw together at the last minute is steak fajitas. Use spices cumin, smoked paprika and garlic to further enhance this Malbec pairing.

Dark chocolate truffles

Desserts
There is some debate over whether or not Malbec pairs well with chocolate, but many seem to be of the opinion that chocolate is a great dessert when drinking Malbec. Some Malbec wines feature hints of cocoa and milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is not a great pairing with Malbec. Stick to darker chocolates, especially those with a 70% or higher cacao content. Dark chocolate truffles are also an excellent choice for a decadent dessert. If you are looking for something a bit more unique than chocolate, consider making a plum compote. This fruit concoction echoes the dark fruits found in Malbec. You can serve plum compote with a slice of cake, a dark chocolate ice cream or on it’s own with a bit of vanilla spiked whipped cream.

While Malbec may not be the first red wine you think of, it is a red wine that deserves your attention. Pairing Malbec is quite easy with a bit of imagination and this wine has the ability to carry you through and entire meal. Of course, the above are guidelines based on what flavors work best with Malbec wines, but the best pairing for you is one that you thoroughly enjoy. Have fun experimenting with bold flavors and different styles of Malbec wines to create the perfect pairing for you.

Red wine by the fireplace.

Top Malbec Wines

It seems that wines come and go in popularity and one wine that is still enjoying a celebrated status is Malbec, particularly Argentine Malbec. The Malbec grape has its origins in France, like many grape varietals, though it is the fruity flavors of Malbec from Argentina that is currently being highly revered by wine enthusiasts. Malbec often features strong fruit flavors such as:

  • Blackberry
  • Black cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberry

Secondary flavors include:

  • Black pepper
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Gravel
  • Green stem
  • Leather
  • Milk chocolate
  • Mocha
  • Molasses
  • Tobacco

Malbec Wine
Malbec is now most frequently associated with Argentina, but the grape did originate in France. It was a commonly used blending grape in Bordeaux’s top wines, but was not the easiest grape to grow in that region. Malbec grapes respond poorly to extreme weather or temperature and have little to no pest resistance. The first Malbec planted in Argentina was in Mendoza by a French botanist wanting a taste of home. Argentina is credited with having “saved” Malbec because the grape flourishes in this environment. Part of what makes Malbec such a popular wine is that it pairs well with such a wide variety of foods, it has a medium acidity and it does not have a long finish like that of a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you aren’t sure where to start with Malbec wines, here are our top picks:

Trapiche 2006 Vina Federico Villafane Single Vineyard Malbec (Mendoza Region)
This Argentine Malbec is one of the greatest values when it comes to high-end, luxury Malbec wines. That being said, it is still pricey at $50 per bottle, but you may want to consider the splurge for such a decadent wine. The Trapiche 2006 Vina Federico Villafane Single Vineyard Malbec provides an intensive burst of black fruits, such as black cherries, at the onset and is followed by very subtle finishing flavors. This Malbec is a lush, ripe wine that also features hints of cola mixed with the black fruit.

Hess Collection 2012 Small Block Series Malbec (Napa Valley)
Again, this Malbec hailing from Napa Valley, California is not a low price point wine. This Malbec costs $55 per bottle, but like the Malbec listed above, you may not want to write this Malbec off on price alone. The Hess Collection 2012 Small Block Series Malbec is a rich wine that provides wonderful flavors of blueberry cobbler, blackberries and a bit of licorice at at first with little acidity and very soft tannins. The finishing notes of this Malbec are vanilla and chocolate with a hint of spice.

Jean-Luc Baldes 2008 Clos Triguedina Les Galets Malbec (Cahors)
While Argentine Malbec heavily features opening fruit flavors, Malbec wines produced in France are often quite different. The Jean-Luc Baldes 2008 Clos Triguedina Les Galets Malbec has a very mineral-like flavor and texture that mingles with black fruits. At $25 per bottle, you will definitely want to try this French Malbec.

Malbec is a wine that everyone can enjoy. It often features low to medium acidity and softer tannins than other red varietals. Malbec from Argentina has strong, dense flavors of dark fruits while French Malbec is often more earthy with flavors described as green stem, black pepper and spice. No matter what your mood or meal is, there is sure to be a Malbec that fits perfectly.