Top countries producing this wine:
Côt, Pressac, Auxerrois — Malbec wears numerous hats throughout the wine regions of France. At one time it was grown in more than 30 French wine areas and had as many as 400 synonyms. Malbec is one of the five permitted red grapes of Bordeaux, where it is grown in small quantities and used sparingly to add structure and color to the blend. In Southwest France, Malbec is the most widely planted grape of the Cahors region. There, it garnered the reputation with the English as the “black wine” of Cahors because of its powerful tannins and inky color.
While there are some plantings of Malbec in California, it is of little significance commercially; tiny percentages of Malbec can be found in some Bordeaux-styled Meritage wines. Australia, South Africa and a handful of wine regions throughout the world have dabbled with this slightly fussy grape, which is sensitive to frost and mildew, but it is in the high altitude vineyards and dry climate of Argentina that Malbec outclasses most of these other variants, including those from France. The grape thrives just about anywhere in that arid, sunny land, producing wines that are as approachable as a juicy Merlot, though they may also be as structured and long-lived as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied and packed with blackberry, dark cherry, olive, mulberry and plum, and sometimes laced with a dash of mocha, vanilla or tobacco, Malbec is anything but a skimpy red.
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