Malbec wines may have originated in northern Burgundy and were once produced in many French wine growing regions. For nearly two centuries though, French Malbec wine has been most associated with the western part of the country. There, it is the primary red grape of Cahors and a blending component in several nearby AOCs.

Of course, Malbec wine was long a key component in Bordeaux reds too. But a single year cost Malbec its foothold there. In 1956, a terrible frost devastated French vineyards. In Bordeaux, Malbec was most effected. Not only was that year’s crop ruined, many of the vines died. The winegrowers of Bordeaux replaced almost all of those vines with Merlot, which is now by far the most-planted grape in Bordeaux. Malbec, on the other hand, represents only about 3% of Bordeaux’ plantings today.

The story for Malbec wine is much sunnier in Argentina. There, bright, mountain sunlight and negligible rainfall mean the grape can achieve lovely ripeness year in and year out. Its inky purple color and focused, dark berry flavors are found in a spectrum of wines, from soft and quaffable to concentrated, structured and age-worthy.

The grape was introduced to Argentina in the 19th century, but Argentina didn’t become a major player in the global market until the late 20th century. With new economic policies, improved viticulture and winemaking, and the innate attractiveness of Argentinian Malbec wine, it’s sales have soared. Today, there are more than 50,000 acres of the grape in Argentina, roughly 15 times as many as in Bordeaux.

Though not to the same extent, Malbec wine is also popular in some California wine regions. In AVAs such as Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Sonoma Valley and Alexander Valley, the grape was planted to serve as a blending component in Bordeaux-variety red wines. However, as in Argentina, the grapes in these regions get ripe enough that Malbec wine is very attractive on it’s own too.

    • JS 99
    • WA 96
    • VN 95
    jamessuckling.com, 99 points

    This is made from over 100-year-old vineyards and offers blackberries with blue fruit and dark chocolate. Shows bark and black truffle undertones, too. Tight and more focused than in past vintages. The quality of the...

    Reg: $259.94 $244.94
    10 in stock
    • WA 95
    Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points

    The 2018 Calcáreo de Granito de Tupungato was produced with grapes from Gualtallary (Tupungato Winelands); it will eventually show Gualtallary on the label, but for now it says Tupungato. The wine has the wilderness of...

    Reg: $39.94 $29.94
    24+ in stock
    • WA 97
    • JS 94
    Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 points

    The site-specific 2018 Malbec Appellation Gualtallary comes from specific soils, two plots that they believe transmit the maximum expression of limestone to Malbec, giving a structured wine with fine-grained tannins but a...

    Reg: $54.94 $44.94
    14 in stock
    • JS 100
    • WA 99
    • VN 95
    jamessuckling.com, 100 points

    This is really something. There’s purity and focus to the aromas of crushed berries, licorice and black tea, which follow through to an integrated palate of extremely fine, melted tannins that spread to the very ends of...

    Reg: $199.94 $179.94
    2 in Pre-Arrival
    • DC 95
    • JS 94
    Decanter, 95 points

    New to the Place de Bordeaux this year - the Argentinian project of Henri Parent, owner of La Violette in Pomerol. Intensely fragrant on the nose, so perfumed and so full of ripe black fruits. This has such concentration...

    Reg: $99.94 $89.94
    24+ in Pre-Arrival