Malbec originated in the Cahors region of France and is one of the building blocks of Boudreaux blends. But Argentina is where the grape developed it’s following and found it’s place in the foothills of the Andes and high elevations sub regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. If you like Cab Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon you will most like enjoy Malbec as well. Inky and dark in color, Malbec ranges from medium to full body and pairs well with bold flavor forward foods like saucy meat dishes and strong chesses, and of course it is a delight as well all on its own. Decant Malbec for at least 30 minutes to allow wine to reach its full expression.
Here are capsule reviews of some examples of Malbec you may find along the Wine Road.
In the glass the Baldassari 2018 Malbec from Asti Ranch, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County is a bewitching dark garnet color with an elegant nose of cocoa, raspberry and a touch of violet. Full of rich black fruit flavors with a predominance of black cherry, blueberry, and plum. Firm lengthy tannins deliver a pleasing tart note on the finish. Great age potential; will develop further complexity over time, but simply delicious right now as well. Pair with Pork tenderloin or a classic pot roast.
Deep purple in color with a bluish-gold halo at the rim, this 2019 Malbec from J. Rickards opens with a bouquet of sugarplum, vanilla and sweet cedar. Full and plush in the mouth with tannins felt along the edge of the mouth that’s typical for Malbec. Juicy and flavorful it has a nice balance of black and red fruits including blueberry and raspberry. Pair with something fun and spicy like fajitas.
Longboard Vineyards 2018 Malbec from Dakine Vineyard presents with an opaque ruby color in the glass and a captivating nose composed of wild sage, vanilla, black tea, cocoa, black cherry and cigar box. Great complexity of flavor with notes of boysenberry, ripe plum, black raspberry, a touch of leather, and chocolate covered blueberries. Altogether a lovely balance of fruit, acid, and layered tannins, with a dry tart finish. Enjoy a contemplative glass on its own or pair with lamb kebabs.
The Dark violet color of this 2019 Malbec from The Meeker Vineyard portends good things to come. A gentle nose of light cocoa, black cherry, clove and roasted coffee belies the juicy flavors of tart pomegranate, Santa Rosa plum, and spicy vanilla that await the palate. Mouthwatering and full of sassy acidity, it has great balance and structure with medium tannins and a long dry finish with a tart cherry note at the end. Pair with stuffed peppers or a tangy Thai barbecue chicken.
Robert Young Estate
Malbec 2018 Alexander Valley Sonoma County
Dark and inky in the glass the Robert Young 2018 Malbec has a pleasant light scent of lavender, mint, and mulberry. On the palate the wine deepens and opens up with notes of sugarplum, spiced fig, black cherry and sandalwood. Well integrated tannins deliver a spicy round finish with a final note of black licorice. Try pairing with grilled eggplant or a savory duck confit.
Sunce Winery & Vineyard
Malbec Reserve 2018 Franicevic Murray Farm, Russian River Valley Sonoma County
Medium to dark purple color in the glass with a very pretty nose of spicy carnation, nutmeg, cocoa and blueberry. On the palate this 2018 Sunce Malbec from Russian River Valley has a diverse array of flavors from dark cherry and blueberry to black tea, mint and wet gravel. It’s tart dry finish delivers a parting note of sour cherry and bitter almond. Pair with charcuterie board composed of blue chesses and spicy chorizo.