Originating in France, Malbec has become a booming trend in Argentina and Chile, where the grape is able to flourish. With a deep, inky-red color and intense, complex flavor — particularly the distinct taste of plum — Malbec often has notes of blackberry, pepper, tobacco and leather. The variety’s robust tannins make it perfect for pairing with steak.
These are the best Malbecs we’ve tasted, starting with our highest rated wines.
2006 Catena-Zapata Malbec
$15 | Rating: 16.5/20
Flavors of plum and blackberry dominate this wine, finishing with medium length and smooth tannins.
$85 | Rating: 16/20
At 15 percent alcohol, this is a big, hearty wine boasting intense black fruit flavors and sturdy tannins. 2,000 cases.
3. O. Fournier
2008 Alfa Crux Malbec
$55 | Rating: 15.5/20
The O. Fournier Group produces wines in Argentina, Chile and Spain, and uses local winemakers in each region to produce wines that are internationally recognizable. The 2008 Alfa Crux 100% Malbec hails from their Uco Valley vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina, which sits in a picturesque location at the foot of the Andes Mountains. This dark crimson wine boasts aromas of ripe fruit with notes of sweet dark cherry and spice. On the palate, intense flavors of blackberry and creamy oak lead to a long, smoky finish. The elegant profile of this full-bodied wine is perfect for the changing temperatures and rich, meaty foods that are coming into season. Food Pairings: Wild boar, beef stew, cheese and mushroom enchiladas.
4. Mt. Brave
Mt. Veeder, CA
$60 | Rating: 15.5/20
From pomegranate and blackberry aromas on the nose to raspberry and spice in the mouth, this earthy red wine is full-bodied and complex.
Napa Valley, CA
$49 | Rating: 15/20
This robust red wine offers pomegranate and plum aromas on the nose and reveals red berry flavors and spice in the mouth.
6. Hand of God
2010 Old Vine Malbec
$75 | Rating: 15/20
Venture capitalist Jon Staenberg founded Hand of God Wines in 2006. The previous year, he had visited Argentina and rekindled an earlier friendship with fellow Stanford MBA alum Santiago Achával of Achával-Ferrer. With the acquisition of two estate vineyards and Achával acting as co-founder and winemaker, Hand of God released its first two wines in 2013. The 2010 Old Vine Malbec comes from the eight-acre Stolen Horse Vineyard, planted entirely to Malbec in 1922 and still plowed by horse. Bold, big-bodied and complex, the wine boasts concentrated black fruit flavors with earthy and herbal notes and supple tannins. Food Pairings: Steak and other fine cuts of beef.
7. Val de Flores
$85 | Rating: 15/20
A robust and dense red wine containing 15 percent alcohol, it boasts concentrated dark fruit flavors and peppery notes on the long finish.
$35 | Rating: 14.5/20
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this full-bodied red has great natural acidity with good minerality. 230 cases.
9. Bodega Catena
San Rafael, Argentina
$21 | Rating: 14.5/20
Deep garnet in color, this robust wine displays flavors of spices and dark berries. Pair with spicy foods or barbeque.
2010 Estate Malbec
$26 | 14.5/20
This full-bodied red wine features blackberry and plum flavors with a touch of spice and supple tannins.