Malbec Wine in Australia
Malbec was a relatively forgotten red wine variety until about a decade ago, but thanks to Argentina there is now a great deal of interest in the variety.
The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec for a history of the variety in Argentina.
Over recent years there has been a revival of interest by Australian winemakers in Malbec as well.
The origins of Malbec
Malbec's home is the Cahors Region in South West France. In that region it makes rich dark wines referred to as "black wines". These reached legendary status in pre-Phylloxera times, but the
Cahors region has taken a long time to recover from that disaster. Only in recent decades have the Cahors wines regained more than local recognition.
See this article about the Black Wines of Cahors
Malbec is also used as a minor variety by some Bordeaux wineries.
In Cahors the variety is also called Cot, or Auxerrois. Other synonyms include Pressac, Pied Rouge, Jacobain, Grifforin.
In Argentina Malbec served as the "workhorse" variety for many years, producing ordinary everyday drinking varieties.
The opinion of the wines was so low that there were vine pull schemes to get rid of them, but fortunately wise heads prevailed as it was discovered that with a little care and modern technology Malbec
could produce acceptable wines at a price point in the North American and European markets and so an export boom began.
Malbec wines in Australia
The variety is certainly less common in Australia than it was a couple of decades ago, but there is some evidence that it may be making a comeback.
Until the 1980s Malbec was used as blending material with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or both. The role of blending partner with Cabernet has been supplanted by Merlot.
There has always been a few varietal Malbecs around but the variety was fading away until the past decade when a few enthusiasts have been giving the variety more attention.
One enthusiast is Bruce Chalmers who has imported a number of Malbec clones from Mendoza. These are now use by many wine growers and are used by Chalmers Family to make Arturo wines in Heathcote.
List of Wineries using Malbec
A Retief Southern New South Wales Zone |
Adinfern Margaret River |
Aldersyde Perth Hills |
Alkoomi Frankland River |
Amicus McLaren Vale |
Andrew Peace Wines Swan Hill |
Arturo Heathcote |
Ashton Hills Adelaide Hills |
Atlas Wines Clare Valley |
Attollo Margaret River |
Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley |
Ballandeen Estate Granite Belt |
Barrecas Geographe |
Beckett's Flat Margaret River |
Ben Potts Wines Langhorne Creek |
Bleasdale Langhorne Creek |
Bloodwood Orange |
Brave Goose Vineyard Goulburn Valley |
Bremerton Langhorne Creek |
Browns of Padthaway Padthaway |
Bullock Track Wines Adelaide Hills |
Bungawarra Granite Belt |
Campbells Wines Rutherglen |
Cardinam Estate Clare Valley |
Carilley Estate Swan Valley |
Carpe Diem Margaret River |
Carpenteri Vineyards Swan Hill |
Casa Freschi Langhorne Creek |
Casella Riverina |
Celestial Bay Margaret River |
Chalmers Heathcote |
Cofield Wines Rutherglen |
Counterpoint Vineyard Pyrenees |
Cullen Wines Margaret River |
Delatite Winery Upper Goulburn |
Della Fay Margaret River |
Dinny Goonan Family Estate Geelong |
Disaster Bay Wines South Coast Zone |
Drakesbrook Wines Peel |
Eldredge Clare Valley |
Emmetts Crossing Wines Peel |
Faber Vineyard Swan Valley |
Ferngrove Vineyards Frankland River |
Forester Estate Margaret River |
Fryerstown Road Vineyard Macedon Ranges |
Gapsted Alpine Valleys |
Gin Gin Wines Queensland Coastal |
Gipsie Jack Langhorne Creek |
Golden Ball Beechworth |
Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt |
Governor's Choice Winery Queensland Zone |
Grassy Point Coatsworth Wines Geelong |
Greedy Sheep Margaret River |
Gundowringla Wines Alpine Valleys |
Haan Barossa Valley |
Harcourt Valley Bendigo |
Hay Shed Hill Wines Margaret River |
Higher Plane Margaret River |
Hills View McLaren Vale |
Jane Brook Estate Swan Valley |
Joadja Vineyards Southern Highlands |
Jones Winery and Vineyard Rutherglen |
Karatta Wine Limestone Coast Zone |
Keith Tulloch Wine Hunter Valley |
Kingsdale Wines Southern New South Wales Zone |
Kongwak Hills Winery Gippsland |
Kurtz Family Vineyards Barossa Valley |
Lake Breeze Langhorne Creek |
Lamonts Central Western Australian Zone |
Larry Cherubino Margaret River |
Last Word Wines Clare Valley |
Levantine Hill Estate Yarra Valley |
Little Bridge Canberra |
Little River Wines Swan Valley |
Manyara Vineyard Adelaide Hills |
Marq Margaret River |
Matchbox Wines Clare Valley |
McCuskers Vineyard Perth Hills |
McHenry Hohnen Margaret River |
Millbrook Winery Perth Hills |
Minnow Creek McLaren Vale |
Mount Charlie Winery Macedon Ranges |
Munari Heathcote |
Noorinbee Selection Vineyards Gippsland |
Nowra Hill Vineyard Shoalhaven Coast |
Olive Hills Estate Rutherglen |
Olssens of Watervale Clare Valley |
Palmer Margaret River |
Palmer Wines Hunter Valley |
Paracombe Wines Adelaide Hills |
Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley |
Petersons Glenesk Estate Mudgee |
Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen |
Pondalowie Bendigo |
Possums Vineyard McLaren Vale |
Pyren Vineyard Pyrenees |
Reedy Creek Northern Slopes Zone |
Riverbank Estate Swan Valley |
Robertson of Clare Clare Valley |
Rodericks South Burnett |
Rogues Lane Vineyard Heathcote |
Rowanston on the Track Macedon Ranges |
Rudderless Wines McLaren Vale |
Settlers Ridge Margaret River |
Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley |
Skillogalee Clare Valley |
Soul Growers Barossa Valley |
St Ignatius Vineyard Pyrenees |
Stone Bridge Wines Clare Valley |
Summit Estate Granite Belt |
Sussanah Brook Wines Swan District |
Swan Valley Wines Swan Valley |
Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes |
Talisman Wines Geographe |
Tamborine Estate Wines Queensland Coastal |
Tamburlaine Hunter Valley |
Tatachilla McLaren Vale |
Temple Bruer Langhorne Creek |
The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo Island |
The Silos Estate Shoalhaven Coast |
Thorn-Clarke Wines Barossa Valley |
Toowoomba Hills Estate Queensland Zone |
Tyrrells Hunter Valley |
Victory Point Wines Margaret River |
Virgara Wines Adelaide Plains |
Warraroong Estate Hunter Valley |
Waterwheel Wines Bendigo |
Wendouree Clare Valley |
Western Range Wines Perth Hills |
Wills Domain Vineyard Margaret River |
Windows Estate Margaret River |
Windy Ridge Vineyard Gippsland |
Winya Wines Queensland Zone |
Wombat Lodge Margaret River |
Woodgate wines Manjimup |
Woodlands Margaret River |
Woodstock McLaren Vale |
Zonte's Footstep Langhorne Creek
Where to get Some Malbec
Vinodiversity's partner wine supplier is Different Drop. They have a selection of Malbec wines from regions throughout Australia.
These come from small and lesser known producers and offer the best way to see the diversity of styles of wine. You can even make up your own tasting pack from different producers to really learn about the variety.
There is a large amount of Malbec produced throughout the world, but you will only find a bottle or two in many retail wine outlets.
I find the Snooth search engine is an efficient way to track down retailers who stock wines made from unusual varieties. You can narrow down your search results to region of origin, and by putting in your location you can usually find a supplier close to you.
Give the Snooth search engine a try to find some Malbec
The taste of Malbec
Rich, gamey, tannic, blackberry, damson, violets...
are some of the descriptors for these wines used on De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table
Some Malbec wines, particularly those from Cahors are particularly dark in appearance. When you taste the wine though you may be surprised at the smoother flavour, although many have firm
tannic structure. These tannins of course indicate that the wine is probably suitable for aging.
Malbec and food
The two homes of Malbec give some clues for what foods you might consider.
Cahors is in South West France where the classic dish is cassoulet - a rustic haricot bean based stew that includes sausages, confit of duck and maybe some pork and other meats.
Argentina is the home of Beef and BBQs, or assado. So you might accompany your Malbec with grilled steak or ribs.
Away from the main course you could enjoy a glass of Malbec with some sharp cheese such as an aged cheddar or a Manchego from Spain.
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