Let’s Talk Wine: The Black Beauty rises
By JoAnn Actis-Grande
Feb. 18, 2016
Not that long ago, the Malbec grape traveled from France to wine-growing regions in Mendoza, Argentina, where they are producing and exporting the world’s leading Malbec as a single varietal, not a blend. One of the main reasons that Malbec thrives in Argentina is the high altitude vineyards and longer growing season, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and peak.
Many wine professionals refer to Malbec as “Argentina’s answer to Spain’s Rioja.” And we all know what happened to Rioja (just try to find an inexpensive one today). Most Malbecs are still reasonably priced, although you can find some that are quite pricey.
Malbec originates from the small town of Cahors, located in the Southwest region of France. Since the boom of Malbec from Mendoza, many wine producers in Cahors are bringing Malbec back. Malbec from Cahors is better known as the “black wine.” Centuries ago, Cahors was the only place Malbec was found. Malbec from Cahors is inky, full-bodied, and powerful — able to age for many years.
You will also find Malbec in Bordeaux, where the grape is used mostly as a blend. Malbec seems to be a good candidate for blending – especially with wines naturally high in tannins and/or acidity.
In California, producers believe that Malbec is a suitable ingredient for a truly authentic Meritage (an American term describing a red wine that is made from a blend of Bordeaux varietals – both red and white). There are also Malbecs made in other U.S. states as well as Chile, Uruguay, southern Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the Mediterranean countries.