When people think of Malbec, their minds often turn to meat, but Malbec pairings can be much more diverse than that.
Among Malbec’s many distinctive qualities, its versatility is undoubtedly one of the reasons behind its international success. In contrast to other famous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah, Malbec is used to produce very different styles of wine: there are white, rosé, sparkling and even sweet Malbecs. Even among the reds, there are a whole range of different options, from subtle, fresh wines to the Gran Reservas that are its most potent incarnation.
All this means that there is a Malbec for every dish and any occasion. Below we offer a few examples:
Malbec pairing: rosé for light dishes
An increasingly popular category among Argentine wineries, in contrast to rosés from the past, the wines being made today are similar to those seen in Provençal but with a more intense flavour and controlled acidity.
These wines are ideal for salads with some kind of protein such as Caesar Salad and Italian antipasti. It even goes well with Mediterranean dishes such as babaganoush, hummus, tabbouleh and falafel salad.
Finally, these Malbec rosés go very well with different cheeses such as Pecorino, Fontina and even more intense flavours such as Roquefort and Gorgonzola.
Malbec pairing every day
This is a very important category when you’re looking to stock up at home; indispensable for surprise visits or when you just want to get take out. These ought to be fresh wines, generally un-aged, with profoundly fruity aromas and moderate, juicy palates.
Among the dishes that it might surprise you to learn go with light Malbecs, a good example is a bucket of fried chicken: even if it’s slathered in hot sauce, you’ll soon be marvelling at how well the two go together.
These lighter Malbecs also go excellently with hamburgers of all kinds from the classic cheddar cheeseburger to stronger toppings such as bacon and blue cheese. And pizza, of course, in all its versions, essentially because mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and Mediterranean herbs go just as well with a light Malbec as Chianti or Sangiovese.
In recent years, Malbec has taken the simple path to complexity and an increasing number are being made with a minimalist approach, without ageing or perhaps solely in concrete. These wines are offering more sophisticated flavours in which primary aromas such as red fruit and violets come to the fore along with vibrant palates, firm textures and juicy finishes.
They are ideal accompaniments to dishes that don’t really work with more traditional Malbecs. For example, the simpler flavours of grilled white meats such as chicken and pork to fatty fish such as salmon, croaker or black hake. Even the more intense sweet and sour flavours of Chinese cuisine such as spare ribs, General Tso Chicken or Peking duck go well with these wines.
Malbec Reserva for meats
Just as Argentina is now synonymous with Malbec, the country has long been renowned for the quality of its meat, especially cuts cooked over coals or wood fires. And so Malbec has developed a strong association with red meats.
So when you’re firing up your grill or lighting the charcoal, Malbec becomes an easy and alluring option. Whether it’s prime or short rib, the voluptuousness of an oak-aged Malbec is always going to be a hit, and it will be just as popular with beef brisket, lamb or steak.
But it’s not just a wine to go with barbecues: roast pheasant and turkey also provide an excellent stage for Malbec, especially if the sauce is based in a young, fresh Malbec, or even a rosé.