Happy World Malbec Day! To celebrate this Noble grape, here’s a round up of vegan Malbec easily found in supermarkets, as well as a little bit of history on this very cool wine grape. . .
A Short Introduction to Malbec Wines
Malbec grapes have a dark inky colour and hardy tannins. It’s now become the iconic grape of Argentina, despite originating in France and also being grown in Chile, South Africa, Australia and the USA. Originally one of the top 5 Bordeaux grapes, Malbec grapes lost their footing with Bordeaux winemaking when frost destroyed the majority of the crops in the late 1860s. After a Frenchman planted Malbec vines in Argentina, the grape boomed into popularity and now account for about half the country’s exports.
Malbec Tasting Profile
Argentinian Malbec wines are typically fruit-forward; jam-packed with blackberry, cherry and plum. They can feature more complex flavours of chocolate, leather, sweet tobacco and even violet. When aged for longer than 12 months, they can exhibit blue fruit flavours too.
In the French region of Cahors, Malbec wines are rustic and savoury; unlike Malbec of Argentina, French Malbecs are often made to age for a couple of years before drinking; typically they contain more concentrated leather and pepper notes, with a higher acidity and more pronounced tannins.
Whilst the classic pairing is Malbec and steak, vegans shouldn’t be put off from exploring this rich and fruity red wine; in fact, across the board this wine offers medium tannins and medium acidity, meaning it suits a variety of other foods, and it isn’t too difficult to find vegan food to pair with Malbec. You just have to know where to look.
The Vegan Guide To… Pairing Food with Malbec
A typical Malbec will have a medium body, medium tannins (high tannins tend to interact very well with animal fats and red meat) and a short finish. Choose vegetables with plenty of flavour and use cooking techniques like roasting, braising or grilling to bring out their flavours; for high-tannin Malbecs like French Cahors, rely on rustic flavours and earthy vegetables.
Here are just a few delicious food pairings for Malbec that are vegan-friendly;
Food Pairing Ideas for Young Fruity Malbec
try dishes with sweet and savoury notes: fajitas with roasted peppers, chickpea tagine with apricots and nuts, tofu tacos with mango salsa and kale.
Food Pairing Ideas for Hearty Malbecs
perfect for barbecue, smoky or chilli flavours. Try wild rice, woodland mushrooms, baked aubergine , roasted peppers and squashes and vegan blue cheese.
Food Pairing Ideas for Rustic French Malbec
farmhouse flavours: earthy pâté, hummus, quinoa, green lentils, walnuts, tempeh, sausage and white bean stew with lots of garlic, rosemary, and sage.
Vegan Friendly Malbec From Supermarkets Round-Up
Exquisite Collection Malbec- Uco Valley, Argentina
A rich fruit-laden character of red fruit and blackberry, with the addition of warm spice (cinnamon), plump tannins and subtle violet. Not bad for just £5.99. (read more)
Vinalba Malbec – Patagonia, Argentina
From the cooler climate of Patagonia in the south of Argentina, this vegan-friendly Malbec is rich and powerful, offering dark chocolate, black cherry and damson with a short but lovely finish. Vinalba Winery make several other Malbec wines that are suitable for vegans and available from various supermarkets. Well worth £10.00 – this is my Wine of the Month March 2020! (read more)
Irresistible Malbec – Chile
The Co-Operative, £7.50
Malbec wines are not just made in Argentina! The Co-operative Irresistible Malbec is from one of the most southern wine-producing regions of Chile, and offers a smokier alternative to some fruit-forward Argentinian Malbec. (read more)
Finest Cahors Malbec – France
From the original Malbec-producing region of Cahors, this French Malbec offers a different experience to warm-climate New World Malbec of Argentina and Chile. Full of savoury earthy notes of leather and shoe polish, although this is definitely an acquired taste, this paired nicely with homemade vegan paté. (read more)
Vegan Malbec Rosé
Tesco Finest Malbec Rosé – Argentina
A softer, but still dry alternative to Provence Rosé, Tesco’s Finest Malbec Rosé is suitable for vegans and offers grassy notes, white peach, and lychee. Perfect for summer and a very affordable rosé Malbec option. (read more)
Last, but not least…
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Morador Malbec Brut – Argentina
Unfortunately, having scoured the Sainsbury’s in Birmingham City Centre today, I can’t find this wine to try ahead of World Malbec Day. However, it’s good to note that a vegan friendly sparkling Malbec does exist – and it’s available from a common UK supermarket for a very competitive price to Champagne. At the time of writing, it’s actually reduced to £8.00! I’m looking forward to trying this when I eventually get my hands on it!
How are you celebrating World Malbec Day 2020?