We take any opportunity to celebrate wine, so we were very excited about World Malbec Day and used the “holiday” as an excuse to do a malbec tasting at home.
We aren’t trained sommeliers, so we often do some quick research before we taste to give us a background on the specific varietal. At home, we keep Wine Folly‘s Magnum Edition nearby. It is both approachable and informative. You can get a copy from our “Wine Essentials Starter Kit.”
Malbec is a full-bodied, dry wine with medium tannin levels. When doing a tasting, angle your glass and look down through the wine against a bright background such as a white piece of paper instead of looking up through the wine towards the sky. Malbecs can have a dark, inky color, with a unique magenta colored rim. The unusual rim can be a giveaway in a blind tasting. The flavor profile can have dark fruity flavors like plum, blackberry, and black cherry with a jammy type flavor, with chocolatey finishes.
Although the varietal originated in France, it was introduced in Argentina and has become a popular and important grape there, making up about three-quarters of the vineyards. We decided to sample three different wines from Argentina for World Malbec Day and chose the $15ish price point. We tried a 2018 Elsa Bianchi, a 2016 Piatelli Vineyards Premium Reserve, and a 2016 Zolo Gaucho Select. We found the Elsa Bianchi to have some oak and cherry flavors. The Piatelli was fruit forward, with plum, cherry and cocoa. The Gaucho Select had notes of tobacco and plum. We didn’t have a clear “winner” of the tasting.
We made dinner to go along with our tasting, and since malbec pairs well with a lean meat, we chose an Argentinian-style Tri-tip roast with a fresh chimichurri sauce. You can find the recipe here at our companion site BBQHawks.com!