Malbec is a lively, entertaining red wine with origins in France. However, you are probably more familiar with Malbec as a product of Argentina or Chile. Argentina is credited with “saving” Malbec wine as the environment and climate of Argentine vineyards is perfect for Malbec grapes and they flourish when planted there. France, and other wine regions like Napa Valley, still do produce Malbec wines, and many of them are excellent. Due to the different growing conditions and soil, the taste of Malbec wine varies greatly depending on the region in which the wine was produced. Argentine and Chilean Malbec wines are famous for their intensely fruity, luxurious Malbec wines while French Malbecs are more commonly referred to as earthy or green wines. Still, no matter what Malbec region you select a wine from, there are plenty of food options for Malbec pairing. Here are some of our very favorite, and most delicious, Malbec pairings.
Appetizers Malbec can take you through your entire meal from appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to dessert despite the region. If you plan on serving a Malbec with a light, fruity taste, then you could prepare a traditional charcuterie platter or serve some smoky, cured beef as a starter. Cheeses that pair with all styles of Malbec include Manchego, Iberico, Taleggio and Cashel Blue. You can also serve with farmhouse cheddar or a mellow blue such as Stilton.
Main Courses This is where Malbec truly shines. There are so many options when it comes to pairing Malbec with your entree. Malbec is excellent red meat and darker poultry meat. It also pairs well with earthier flavors, like a brisket, as well. One of the most popular pairings with Malbec is lamb. Try lamb shanks, a lamb stew or a spicy lamb curry. Beef is another frequent choice of meat to pair with Malbec and you have virtually unlimited options. Serve Malbec with a juicy hamburger, a hearty steak or serve with a cozy roast beef. If you want to enjoy Malbec with a super simple dinner you can make with little preparation, consider serving spaghetti and meatballs of American style spaghetti bolognese. Another option for a beef dinner that requires a bit of prep but is easy to throw together at the last minute is steak fajitas. Use spices cumin, smoked paprika and garlic to further enhance this Malbec pairing.
Desserts There is some debate over whether or not Malbec pairs well with chocolate, but many seem to be of the opinion that chocolate is a great dessert when drinking Malbec. Some Malbec wines feature hints of cocoa and milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is not a great pairing with Malbec. Stick to darker chocolates, especially those with a 70% or higher cacao content. Dark chocolate truffles are also an excellent choice for a decadent dessert. If you are looking for something a bit more unique than chocolate, consider making a plum compote. This fruit concoction echoes the dark fruits found in Malbec. You can serve plum compote with a slice of cake, a dark chocolate ice cream or on it’s own with a bit of vanilla spiked whipped cream.
While Malbec may not be the first red wine you think of, it is a red wine that deserves your attention. Pairing Malbec is quite easy with a bit of imagination and this wine has the ability to carry you through and entire meal. Of course, the above are guidelines based on what flavors work best with Malbec wines, but the best pairing for you is one that you thoroughly enjoy. Have fun experimenting with bold flavors and different styles of Malbec wines to create the perfect pairing for you.