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By Karla Erovick

About Malbec: Malbec is known for its big, bold red berry flavors that have become the new Merlot. It is often used as a blending grape but recently has started to make in-roads as a stand-alone varietal. You will find many examples from South America and North America in your local wine store’s and wineries.  Traditionally Malbec was used as a blending grape to add color and tannin to Cabernet Sauvignon but as consumers started to look for an alternative to Merlot many wineries started to produce it as a stand -alone varietal and the public fell in love with the grape.  Now you will find it everywhere.

History of Malbec: Malbec is originally from Bordeaux and Cahors in France.  In Bordeaux it is used as a blending grape typically making up somewhere between 5% and 10% in the overall blend.  In Cahors it is usually dominate grape in the blend, making up around 70% – 75% of the blend.  In the late 1800’s Malbec made its way to Argentina where it has flourished as the go to varietal in South America.  With that move came a different style then we see in France.  In Argentina the grape has picked up a softer more elegant style versus the Bordeaux and Cahors style which is more tannic and rustic.  The softer style has prevailed as the consumers choice. Consequently, this style has emerged as the North American style we have become accustomed to enjoying and the reason it as surpassed Merlot as the go-to soft big bold red wine for consumers.

Pairings: Malbec is a wine that is pleasant to drink without food but will enhance many dishes. With its slightly softer profile then Cabernet Sauvignon it works well with dishes that are less rich like pork, leaner beef dishes, grilled meats with a dry rub, or stews.

Why Malbec? Cassandra from Natalie’s Estate attended a wine trade show in New York and tasted through several wines but fell in love with a wonderful Malbec from the Pacific Northwest region. After enjoying this wine, we contracted with our growers to bring to our customers the very same incredible wine with dark, inky purple-color profiles and ripe flavors of plum, black cherry, and blackberry.  We will be releasing it this summer, so keep an eye out for our newest addition: 2017 Natalie’s Estate “Columbia Valley” Malbec!