What Does Malbec Taste Like?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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The red grape variety Malbec produces full-bodied wines known for their deep purple color. It’s also known for its taste of rich dark fruit flavors with a chocolatey finish. Malbec wines are dry with medium tannins and balanced acidity but of a very high alcohol content (13%-15%). 

Malbec is originally from France (where it is known as Côt or Auxxerois). But it was introduced to the Mendoza region in Argentina in the 1800s and is now the country’s most important grape variety. In fact, although Malbec is grown in small quantities in other regions of the world like Australia, Chile, and California, the grape has become synonymous with Argentina. 

Malbec wines have a noticeable difference in taste depending on whether they are from cooler climates like France or warmer climates like Argentina.

A glass of wine with a bottle of wine - What Does Malbec Taste Like?

Does Malbec taste good?

Yes, Malbec tastes good, which is why it is one of the most popular wines across the globe. Although it’s a full-bodied wine, its rich fruit-forward flavors make it easily drinkable and easy to pair with a variety of foods. 

How would you describe the taste of Malbec?

In general, Malbec tastes of rich dark fruit flavors and savory notes like:

  • Red plum
  • Blackberry 
  • Vanilla
  • Tobacco
  • Chocolatey, cocoa finish 

However, the taste of Malbec will greatly reflect the region in which it was grown. And it will have different flavor notes depending on whether it is from a cool or warm climate. 

When the grapes are grown in cooler climates, like the Bordeaux region of France, the Malbec wines will be more structured with stronger tannins. It will have a tart and savory taste with notes of: 

  • Black cherry 
  • Raspberry
  • Black plum 
  • Meat
  • Leather
  • Black pepper

Malbec grapes thrive, however, in warmer climates like Argentina. The sun makes the wines taste smoother with a velvety texture and more fruit-forward. It will have stronger notes of: 

  • Blackberry
  • Red plum
  • Cocoa powder
  • Milk chocolate
  • Violet flowers
  • A sweet tobacco finish

How will I know if I like the taste of Malbec or not?

Malbec is a popular wine, and you’ll like its taste if you like red wines with strong fruit flavors and a chocolatey finish. Although it’s a full-bodied wine, the fruit flavors make it easily palatable and easy to drink, even for beginners. 

Is Malbec sweet, bitter, or dry?

Despite its rich fruit flavors and notes of chocolate, Malbec is a dry wine. The fermentation of the grapes is almost entirely finished leaving little-to-no residual sugar. Therefore, no sugar is added to these wines.

Is the taste of Malbec a nice wine for beginners?

Yes, Malbec is a great wine for beginners, particularly for those looking for a lesser-known yet easily drinkable red wine. Although it’s a full-bodied wine, the rich fruit flavors make it perfectly palatable for a beginner. Malbec is also widely available across the world and at very affordable prices. 

As the taste of Malbec so greatly reflects the region where the grapes were grown, it’s a good choice for beginners looking to develop their palette and learn the different taste notes in the wine. Compare bottles from France and Argentina and see if you can taste the savory notes in the former and the smoother, fruiter notes in the latter.

Malbec is also a nice wine for beginners as it’s easy to pair with food. As a full-bodied red wine, it pairs well with meats. However, because Malbec doesn’t have a long finish, it pairs better with lean cuts of meat—fattier meats risk overpowering the wine. Try pairing it with: 

  • Lean cuts of red meat (like beef) or turkey 
  • Dishes with olive oil that counteract the bitterness of the tannins in the wine
  • Strong cheeses like blue cheese, gorgonzola, or Stilton

Final Thoughts on Malbec’s Taste

Malbec is a popular dry red wine that tastes, in general, of rich dark fruit flavors with a chocolatey finish and notes of tobacco and vanilla. Full-bodied with medium tannins and acidity, its final taste profile will depend greatly on whether the grapes were grown in a warm climate, like Argentina, or a cooler climate, like the Bordeaux region of France. Malbec wines from a warmer climate will be smoother and more fruit-forward, whereas wines from a cooler climate will be more tart with strong savory notes. 

Malbec is a great wine for both beginners and wine connoisseurs alike. Its rich fruit flavors and medium tannins make it an easily drinkable wine. It pairs well with a wide variety of foods, especially lean cuts of meat.