Many of us immediately think of Argentina when looking to buy Malbec, but there are other countries worth considering for fans of this full bodied red variety...
Perhaps best known these days in its Argentinian guise, the Malbec grape actually reached foreign shores from France – namely Cahors and Bordeaux.
Malbec wine is now produced in many countries, identifiable by its distinct purple hue and violet-tinged scents.
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Five Malbecs to try from around the world:
Where are the best Malbecs made?
Although used in Bordeaux as a minor component, the south-western region of Cahors is the real engine room of French Malbec. Produced here for centuries, its wines are now largely outshone by those from Argentina – which offer a more upfront fruity appeal – although the Cahors region is ripe for investment and a renaissance could be on the cards.
Argentinian wine production has come of age, with Malbec now synonymous with the country. Planting vineyards in the heights of the Andes to temper the strong sunshine and bolster the acidity led to an explosion in quality, and now several denominations are recognised for their unique regional styles -the best known of these is Mendoza. Argentinian Malbec is generally silk-textured with ripe dark fruit flavours.
Taking a leaf out of Bordeaux’s book, most Malbec here is used as a minor component in Bordeaux style blends. Hawke’s Bay has a reputation for producing excellent blends and it was only natural that some winemakers would start experimenting with 100% Malbec wines.
Still most often seen as a blending component, more and more 100% Malbec wines are coming to market, with the best hailing from from the Clare Valley, Margaret River and Langhorne Creek. They tend to err on the savoury side rather than being all out fruit bombs like the South American examples, offering chocolate and bramble fruits rather than blackberry, plum and violets.