Responsible for the so-called ancient ‘black wine of Cahors’ in south-west France, Malbec is also a minor partner among the five main red varieties that make up the Bordeaux blend.


While it can be harsh and rustically tannic in France (usually needing Merlot to soften it), it is the red grape par excellence of Argentina, where it makes a softer, juicier style of red, especially from old vines, with raspberry, mulberry and game-like undertones. It’s also grown in Chile, Australia and California.

SEE: Argentinian Malbec blends: panel tasting results | Great value Argentina Malbec wines | International Trophy Red Single-Varietal over £15 – Fabre Montmayou

What does it taste like?

Harsh and rustic in its homeland of south-west France, the Malbec grape is often improved in Cahors by the addition of the softening Merlot grape. It really comes into its own however in Argentina, where it becomes altogether smoother and lusher with all sorts of plummy, red berry and earthy fruit flavours like raspberry, mulberry and blackberry allied to tar, leather and game-like characters.

Updated by Jeanne Thexton on the 8th of January 2016