The malbec grape originated in Cahors, a town in southwest France, during the time of the Roman Empire. In the nineteenth century, the first malbec vines were planted in Argentina, where they flourished. The sunny and arid climate was the perfect combination to cultivate the vines, and ultimately contributed to the grape’s widespread distribution in Argentina. Today, 85 percent of the world’s malbec wine is produced in Mendoza, a wine-producing province in Argentina located at the foothills of the snow-capped Andes mountains.
At the core of Argentinian wine country are the subregions with unique microclimates that heavily influence the terroir, including Luján de Cuyo, Uco Valley and Maipú. Melting glaciers in the Andes feed into Mendoza’s rivers, and provide an excellent source of pure
The malbec varietal, characterized by its deep, reddish purple hue, is a great alternative to other widely popular full-bodied red wines such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The dry, rich wine pairs well with grilled meat or fattier fish, like salmon.
With over 1,000 wineries in Mendoza, we’ve rounded up a few excellent options to try. Here are five malbec wines from Mendoza to add to your list this season.
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Trivento Eolo Malbec 2019
Trivento, which means “three winds” in Spanish, is named after the different types of currents that blow across Mendoza and play an integral role in the winemaking process. The Eolo Malbec, a single vineyard wine made of 100 percent malbec grapes, originates from the Luján de Cuyo region, which sits 3,200 feet above sea level. The sustainably-made wine is aged for 18 months, in both oak barrels and oval-shaped foudres. The end result is a full-bodied wine that is well-structured, with delicate raspberry and cherry aromas and a long finish.
Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2021
This fourth-generation family-run winery, founded by Nicola Catena, pays tribute to the four female figures that tell the story of the varietal and its origin in France and growing popularity in Argentina. The women, who are depicted on the bottle’s label, symbolize the birth of Malbec, the movement of settlers from Europe to the New World, phylloxera (an insect that destroyed the vines in the nineteenth century) and lastly, Nicola’s granddaughter, Adrianna Catena. This particular grape was planted in 1930 in Maipú and has been aged in French oak barrels for 10 to 15 months. The vintage is bold and structured, leaving fine-grain tannins that provide a pleasant finish.
Viña Cobos Malbec Cobos 2019
Paul Hobbs, the founder and winemaker at Viña Cobos, spent over three decades exploring the Mendoza region in search of the right terroir. Ultimately, he chose vineyards in Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley, and the inaugural vintage in 1999 marked the beginning of a wine that would transcend Argentina. The 2019 vintage is marked by two important factors during the season: the large thermal range which contributed to good acidity, and the low rainfall which allowed for an optimal harvest season. The wine is complex and hits you on the palate with red currants and blueberry notes, with an elegant finish.
Trapiche Iscay Malbec & Cabernet Franc
This intense silky wine is a blend of 70 percent malbec and 30 percent cabernet franc from the Gualtallary region in the Uco Valley. The blackberry and plum notes are highlighted with traces of chocolate and oak. Generous tannins hit your palate in the middle and leave a velvety finish. Ideal food pairings include stews, game, lamb, mushroom dishes and hard cheeses.
Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita 2017
This is a bold wine that originates from a small parcel of very stony, calcareous soil where the limestone is heavily present. It’s a jammy, fruit-forward wine with an inky dark color and a strong finish.