What is Malbec?

Malbec, also known as Cot, is a red grape variety from France where it is now much less prominent than in its adopted new homeland of Argentina. It makes deeply coloured, intense red wines.

What does Malbec taste like?

Malbec sports various flavours of black fruit. When overcropped and underripe, it can taste bitter, due to its tannins, but when fully ripe and grown with care, it presents full-bodied, structured wines with a beautiful intensity of blackberry and blueberry fruit and dense but smooth tannins. The best examples have overtones of iris and violet and are alluringly fragrant.

Where is Malbec from?

Malbec originated in southwest France, somewhere around the town of Cahors, which also gives its name to the wine appellation based on the variety. It is a natural crossing of Prunelard and Magdelaine Noire de Charentes.

Where does Malbec grow?

Cot, as Malbec is called in its homeland, is at home in southwest France where it must make up at least 70% of the wine if it is to be labelled Cahors. The wines have marked, firm tannins and benefit from bottle age. Cot, under various synonyms, is also planted in Bordeaux and in the Loire valley, but until the present warm summers arrived, it struggled to attain ripeness there. Introduced to Argentina in 1868, it is now the countries most-planted variety and the origin that is most readily associated with this grape. The intense and brilliant sunshine afforded by Andean altitudes turn Malbec into a different, much smoother wine here. Argentine tannins are riper and therefore smoother, albeit still mouth-filling. The wines have pronounced dark fruit flavours and the best examples have a heightened floral aroma. In the case of Malbec and Argentina, it is fair to say that the conditions of the adopted country are so suited to the variety that it has become a new world classic. There are minor plantings of Malbec in California, where the wine is prized for its colour, as well as in Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.

Famous Malbec regions:

  • Cahors, France
  • Mendoza, Argentina

Anything else?

Malbec’s inky, purplish, and intense colour meant that the wines were nicknamed “the black wines of Cahors.”

Our selection of great Malbec  

-   Château du Cèdre, Cahors

-   Colomé, Salta, Argentina

-   Achaval Ferrer, Medoza, Argentina

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