Although many wine drinkers associate malbec with Argentina, the grape hails from the French appellation of Cahors, where it is still the dominant variety. Paul Hobbs, the famous U.S. winemaker, consultant and importer, produces malbec in both France and Argentina. In fact, his work with Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza in the late 1980s helped make Argentina’s malbec an international star. Below is a malbec from Hobbs’ Viña Cobos winery in Mendoza compared with a malbec from Cahors.
Viña Cobos 2017 Felino Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
Bought • Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in May for $15.99
Description • This lush malbec earned well-deserved scores in the 90s from several wine critics. Beautifully balanced, fresh and fruity, it comes from grapes grown in two of Mendoza’s premier wine growing areas, Luján de Cuyo and Valle de Uco. Aged in oak for nine months, this is a medium- to full-bodied, spicy red that has a mouth-watering acidity that makes you want to take another sip. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with lots of character that would go well with grilled beef.
Chateau Pineraie 2014 Cuvée des Dames, Cahors, France
Bought • Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in May for $12.99
Description • This elegant malbec comes from the Burc family, which has owned land in Cahors since 1456. The family’s Ch teau Pineraie is now run by sisters Anne and Emmanuelle. Their Cuvée des Dames is a delicious, medium- to full-bodied red, but it’s made in a very different style than the Felino. A blend of 85 percent malbec and 15 percent merlot, this is a very dry and austere wine. Made more like a red from France’s Bordeaux, it would go well with beef, burgers and fattier meats.