Find your recipes and restaurants here

Wine sessions: What is Malbec and what does it taste like?

A look into this red varietal!

by: Katy Rose | 17 Apr 2018
tasting malbec

Image source: iStock

ALSO READ: Plan a Pinotage party

This week brings us World Malbec Day, on 17 April, and while we don’t usually need an occasion to enjoy a cheeky glass of wine, we thought this would be a great opportunity to give Malbec a little spotlight. 

What is Malbec? 
Malbec is red grape variety, originally grown in France, but it is best known as the flagship varietal of Argentina. Here in South Africa, there are a few patches of Malbec vineyards here and there, with most of the Malbec being incorporated into more complex red blends. 

It is most famously part of the ‘bordeaux blend’ family of varietals, so if you enjoy drinking these blends you’ll probably be a fan of Malbec!

What does it taste like? 
Malbec is dark, inky red wine with medium to firm tannins. Deep, rich fruit flavours come through such as blackberry, black cherry, plum and ripe raspberry. In heavier oaked styles, a smokey character can show itself with aromas of leather, tobacco and milk chocolate. 

Will I like it? 
If you enjoy more robust, full-bodied red wines with large components of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, then Malbec may be for you! Single varietal bottlings are not very common in South Africa, but there are a few blends that feature a fair bit of Malbec in their makeup. 

Let's get tasting

tasting malbec

For the beginners
Bellevue Wine Estate Malbec 2014 R125
Herbaceous, with notes of fynbos and rosemary, this wine is a beautiful bundle of balanced berries. 

Something more complex
Anura Vineyards Malbec Limited Release 2016 R172
A luscious 100% Malbec, with aromas of mulberry, sweet plum and marzipan. 

The big spender
Vilafonte Wines Series M 2014 R550
The M here refers to a blend of Merlot and Malbec. A luxury red wine, this one can be cellared for the long term - save it for a special occasion! 

A bottle of something exotic
Trapiche Malbec South America Red R85
This award-winning wine has deep crimson characteristics, with a palate bursting with plums and cherries.

The Spruce 

ALSO READ: Insight into the ever-growing township wine market

Read more on: red wine  |  wine  |  drinks

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.