Malbec is a red wine grape varietal that was once a major component in the great wines of Bordeaux (where it is known as Côt and Côt Noir), but more recently it has also been relegated to a minor role. It has been steadily replaced by Merlot and the other two Cabernet varietals in most areas of Bordeaux. In the Médoc, Malbec is typically used to add colour and tannin to the combined wine blend.
It has been said, if Petit Verdot was easier to grow, Malbec might have even less area under vine than it does today. Malbec does play the key role in the small appellation of Cahors (south-west France), where it is known as Auxerrois. In Cahors, the wines are dark in colour, with an earthy tobacco aroma, rustic, full and engaging on the palate with good length.

 

Argentina is now regarded as the new home of Malbec. In the wine region of Mendoza, under the shadow of the Andes Mountains, the grape enjoys its vacation from the more moderate climate of the Médoc in Bordeaux - France. Here, there are hot summer temperatures and the grape is left hanging long into the growing season to ripen and soften its firm tannins.

The Malbec grape is a medium skinned grape (in warm climates, thick skinned and at high altitudes) and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It ripens mid to late in the season and it can bring very deep colour, confident tannins, and a characteristic plum-like flavour component that adds complexity to red blends.
The best of Argentine Malbecs' are deep inky reds with juicy dark fruit and soft tannins, making them very approachable, early drinking styles. Malbec is also found in Chile, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand (e.g. Waiheke Island, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne) have the required climate and are producing some interesting examples. Traditionally it has been and still is being used as a blending grape in classic Bordeaux-style red blends - (being one of the famous 5 red grape varietals) - enjoy.