by Paullette Gaudet

The Stooge_SocialMediaSet“Cabernet AGAIN, Mom??”

If this is the silent chorus of your urban-family-slash-frequent-dinner-party-guests, consider peering a bit farther past those usual, tried-and-true Merlots and Pinots; in fact, peer all the way down past the equator to the famed Mendoza wine country of Argentina, with its mighty fine Malbecs.

Originally from France, Malbec grapes found a sure foothold on the slopes of the Argentine Andes in the mid-nineteenth century and flourished; the high elevation, dry climate, and wide temperature ranges kept the grapes from succumbing to their historic sensitivity to rot and frost. Argentine Malbecs are aggressively fruit-forward with jammy plum flavors, while their French counterparts are more tart and tannic. Both display an inky dark purple color, with a magenta-tinged rim in the glass.

Malbec is a prime blending candidate, and meshes particularly well with high tannin wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Shiraz are also great blending partners for Malbecs, resulting in bright, smooth, and highly drinkable blends. On its own or in a blend, Malbec retains a pleasing, velvety, and strong fruit flavor.

Malbec can act as a substitute for Cabernet Sauvignon, but it has a shorter finish on the tongue that makes it a better pairing for intensely flavored foods such as blue cheese, or spices like cumin.

Does Malbec pair with…?

Chicken: Malbec is an ideal match for dark meat poultry, especially chicken leg and duck.

Pork/Beef: Malbec works magic with both of these lean meats.

BBQ: NOW we’re talking! Malbecs were MADE to pair with the smoky, tangy, and earthy flavors of BBQ sauce.

With crowd-pleasing, fruit-forward flavor that plays well with most foods, Malbecs may just be the exotic star of your next dinner party!