When most people think of Malbec, they think of a red wine from Argentina. However, Malbec originated as a French grape and is still the primary grape used to make red wine in Cahors, France.
Malbec was historically used as a minor blending grape in Bordeaux blends. Since the Middle Ages, Malbec has been grown in the Cahors region, south of Bordeaux, to make the “black wine” of Cahors. However, Malbec vines struggle with the maritime climate of eastern France and are prone to disease and rot. When Malbec vines were taken to Argentina, they thrived in the hot, high-altitude climate around Mendoza. Argentina has been making wine from Malbec for over 100 years, but it has been only in the last 10-15 years that America has taken notice.
Cahors v. Mendoza
Malbec exhibits black fruit flavors such as black cherry, blackberry, black plum and black currant. Malbecs from Cahors tend to exhibit additional non-fruit flavors such as leather and gravel and tend to have firmer tannins. This style of wine is capable of a bit more aging. Malbecs from Mendoza, Argentina, tend to have softer tannins and can exhibit floral and cocoa flavors.