Malbec is a red wine varietal primarily grown in the Andean region of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile.
This wine varietal is known for its rich and earthy notes, which makes it the perfect wine to pair with foods that have a strong flavor.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how Malbec tastes and what to pair with Malbec!
What To Pair With Malbec – Best Food Choices
Malbec and red meat are heavenly together. This is the perfect wine pairing for a heavy dinner of steak and herbed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms or onions.
A glass of Malbec is a favorite BBQ pairing because it tastes wonderful with juicy beef burgers, smoked ribs, brisket, sausages, and even chicken wings.
Malbec pairs famously with spicy dishes, especially any type of beef or seasoned pork taco.
Adventurous eaters have paired Malbec with sushi, though we really only like it with very spicy sushi rolls.
Read our related article… What Wine Pairs With Sushi? for more wine and sushi pairings!
Herbed lamb is another favorite pairing with Malbec.
The robust fruitiness and dark cocoa and vanilla flavors of Malbec seem to sparkle with the delicate herbiness of lamb dishes.
Turkey can pair with Malbec, though the flavors are a little more tricky. Still, the fruitiness of Malbec complements the turkey and gravy similar to cranberry sauce.
Malbec is also delicious when it takes more of the starring role alongside tapas and charcuterie foods.
Consider serving Malbec alongside finger foods so guests can taste the variety of rich flavors in the wine.
Malbec is a relatively dry red wine, so it is hard to pair with dessert. The exception to that is chocolate.
The cocoa, tobacco, and vanilla flavors in Malbec are heavenly with truffles or chocolate layer cake.
Read our related article on How to Serve Malbec for serving tips, tricks, and more recommendations!
How To Pair Cheese With Malbec Wine
Similar to spicy foods, cheese also has a strong aroma which compliments the taste of red wine.
The flavor of the cheese is often strong and earthy, which makes it a perfect match for a robust red wine.
Sheep’s cheese, like Manchego, is a fantastic pairing with Malbec for those who are lactose intolerant.
Cheese pairings that are perfect for pairing with a glass of Malbec include:
- Extra-Sharp Cheddar
- Aged White Cheddar
- Fruited chèvre
- Bleu Cheese
- Gorgonzola Cheese (with or without fruit)
If you love blue cheese pairings, you’re in luck. The robust flavor of blue cheese goes exceptionally well with the full-bodied taste of Malbec.
We love to pair fruit-flecked gorgonzola with Malbec.
Want a crunchy snack with Malbec? Try white cheddar Cheez-Its or Goldfish and see if it isn’t a delightful pairing for a quick snack.
Read our related article, Carmenere vs Malbec Wine, where we compare the two most loved wines from Argentina!
How To Pair Fried Foods With Malbec
The nice part about Malbec is that the dry, fruity flavor really shines through and helps temper heavy fried foods.
Some great fried food pairing options for Malbec are:
- French Fries
- Fried sweet potatoes
- Onion Rings
- Cheese Fries
- Hush puppies
- Fried chicken
Malbec can overpower some lighter fried foods, but it tends to take center stage with foods like french fries that are mildly flavored.
However, the heavy fat and salt stand out well in contrast to Malbec.
How To Pair Seafood With Malbec
Malbec and fish don’t generally play well together. There are three seafood dishes that can pair with Malbec.
- Well-seasoned fried fish tacos
- Fried oysters
- Shrimp tempura
In general fish dishes should be paired with white wine, but these are three that can hold their own quite well with Malbec.
The thing to remember is that the Malbec has flavors and aromas of dark fruit, cherry, cocoa or mocha, sweet tobacco, and even a hint of vanilla.
See our related article on What Wine Goes With Fish Tacos (and other tacos) for our wine picks for South American dishes!
Does All Malbec Taste the Same?
There are so many different Malbec labels to try, and each one tastes different.
The common thread is dark fruit and cocoa, but some have more vanilla, tobacco, or even lavender notes than others.
We recommend having a Malbec tasting party to try it out for the first time. Get an array of foods and try them with several types of Malbec.
This will help you get a taste for your favorite Malbec pairings.
Finally, while most Malbec is from Argentina, the grape originated in France and some nice Malbec varietals are French.
Find out the differences in this great Malbec tasting video from Wine Folly.
These are just a few of the many great pairings for drinking a glass of Malbec.
Pairing a bold red wine like Malbec with spicy foods, cheeses, and fish is a great way to enjoy a meal.
When it comes to what to pair with Malbec, there’s no mistaking that Malbec pairs well with meals.
That said, we suggest you try it on its own with a light pairing of charcuterie or tapas to really enjoy the flavor of the wine.