7 marvellous malbecs to slurp on Malbec World Day

17th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

Bursting with berries and delightfully drinkable, there's a reason these New World reds are making everyone giddy, says Claire Spreadbury.

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As red wines go, it’s hard to go wrong with a malbec.

East to drink, juicy and fruity in flavour, it’s a firm favourite in the UK – especially as the warmer weather lures us all outdoors and BBQs start getting fired up (generally speaking, a malbec pairs deliciously with a flame-grilled – or gas-fired if you must – hunk of steak).

“One in every 12 bottles of red wine sold at Co-op is a malbec,” says the supermarket’s wine buyer, Joseph Turner. “The nation’s love for malbecs has grown with the rise in popularity for steak house-style restaurants. Steak and malbec is a match made in heaven, and has quickly become the go-to pairing for customers looking to recreate this dining experience at home.”

Belinda Kleinig, one of the M&S wine buyers, notes that these wines have been riding a wave of popularity for a while now: “It’s a crowd-pleasing grape, as it’s not only fruit-forward, but also full-bodied and food-friendly. A great malbec is smooth with depth of berry flavour and a hint of oak. Keep an eye out for some of the more subtle French malbecs; these can have a deliciously refreshing herbal character and a savoury finish.”

And malbecs are changing, too. The popularity of the grape has seen new additions come from outside the ‘classic’ Malbec-growing countries (Argentina and Chile), such as South Africa, the USA and Australia. And, similar to steak-buying habits, Turner suggests that shoppers are willing to pay more for a premium bottle.

It can be daunting when faced with a shelf full of malbec – and tempting to plump for a Chilean – but as a general rule when choosing, Fiona Mottershaw, brand manager for Left Field wines, recommends opting for one that’s been bottled by the producer. “That’s usually a sign of quality,” she says. “And stick with the old mantra, ‘you get what you pay for’.”

That said, it’s not difficult to find a bargain. “Known for its dark colour and rich, black fruit flavours, malbec is an incredibly versatile grape variety that produces some fantastic value wines,” says Sam Caporn MW, Aldi’s ‘mistress of wine’. “As Argentina’s flagship grape variety, it’s no surprise that some of the best-tasting malbec wines hail from there.”

So, whether you’re splashing out or stocking up ahead of Brexit, try these delicious drops of moreish malbec…

1. The Party Malbec, £14, M&S

The Party Malbec, M&S
(M&S/PA)

Just the name of this wine puts it in the must-buy category. If you’re in need of a party in a bottle, try this little Argentinian number – elegant and bright, with notes of plums, cherries and liquorice.

2. Irresistible Bio Bio Malbec, £8, Co-op stores

Co-op Bio Bio Malbec
(Co-op/PA)

This is a great go-to from Chile. It’s 100% Malbec with a very quaffable edge, and the hedonistic notes of chocolate and coffee are a real treat.

3. Left Field Malbec, £13.99, Wine Rack

Leftfield malbec
(Leftfield/PA)

Rich and delicious yet still smooth, the intense blackberry flavours, ripened in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, are kissed by liquorice and chocolate.

4. Exquisite Collection Argentinian Malbec, £6.29, Aldi

Aldi Exquisite Malbec
(Aldi/PA)

Aldi’s multi award-winning malbec is bright and intense, presenting blackberries and plums for a long and fruity finish. A total bargain and a big hit with customers – it’s the perfect match for a medium-rare steak.

5. Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec, £16.99, Majestic stores

Vinalba Malbec, Majestic
(Vinalba/PA)

The long summers in Argentina’s Mendoza really do make their wine pack a punch. This award-winner is smooth and rich, enveloping the tongue with a soft black fruit flavour. Divine.

6. Gold Label Malbec, £7, M&S stores

Gold Label Malbec, M&S
(M&S/PA)

For one of those subtle French numbers Kleinig mentions, this medium-bodied red zings with plums and blueberries, and is a snip at just £7.

7. Finca Las Moras Barrel Select Malbec, currently reduced to £6.25 from £8.25, Co-op stores

Fincas Malbec, Co-op
(Co-op/PA)

For a blast of pure black fruits, this Argentinian slips down rather too well. Equally great with a burger or a handful of nuts.

© Press Association 2019

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