Mad for Malbec

Happy World Malbec Day, my fellow oenophiles! Today we celebrate the sumptuousness and seductiveness of Argentina’s most prominent red grape.  I’ll admit that I am a big fan of Malbec in general, especially New World versions from Argentina and the United States, but what I appreciate most is its flexibility. Whether you want to dress it up or dress it down, pair it with a main course or with a dessert, or just drink it by itself, the expressions of Malbec are versatile and accommodating.

When I feature Malbec in wine tastings, I like to pair it with a hearty food companion to stand up to the tannins and compliment the smoke and spice which are so often hallmarks of this great grape. If I have adequate time to prepare, I will often do a slice of roast beef with some caramelized onions served on crostini. If I need something quicker or more streamlined, a slice of farmhouse cheddar on a peppery cracker will also work well.

For my personal celebration of World Malbec Day, my kitchen will feature a steak with a nice BBQ spice rub, grilled asparagus, and parmesan mashed potatoes. A little dark chocolate will cap off the meal and compliment the very same varietal that stood up to my steak! It’s hard not to love a wine that will go from appetizer to after-dinner sweets without missing a beat.

If you happen to live or be in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles or Washington D.C. today, check out one of the many World Malbec Day events planned for this evening. If you’re not in one of those locales, pick up a bottle on your way home and have your own celebration. Here are two of my favorite Malbecs:

  • Ben Marco Malbec, Mendoza – this is possibly my all-time favorite, and an amazing option under $20, but can be a challenge to find.
  • Cruz Alta Malbec Reserve, Mendoza – a beautiful, expressive option that will pair well with a variety of foods for under $15.

Malbec grapes

Whatever you do to celebrate World Malbec Day, be sure to lend your palate to the magnificent Malbec.

Bud Break

Hello, and welcome to Cuvee Communiqué! My name is Kwino, and I’ll be your hostess for this hopefully entertaining, at times edifying, but never boring journey though the wide world of wine. Whether you’re in the trade, a weekend warrior hopelessly devoted to adventures in oenophilia, or a first-time taster, I hope you’ll continue reading as this blog explores etiquette, market trends, new labels and vintages, and generally all things wine.

We’re entering an exciting time of year when winemakers and wine enthusiasts alike begin looking toward the growing season ahead. It is the time of year when gnarled grapevines spring back to life and hint at the promise of a brand new vintage. Bud break, as it is known, signals the start of the new growing season and holds immeasurable potential for the next harvest. Like the vineyard managers who have been pruning and preparing their vines for the year ahead, I’ve been gathering ideas and putting thoughts on paper for this blog’s bud break.

Here’s to new beginnings, to budding blogs, and to the hopeful start of something new; here’s to bud break, and welcome to Cuvee Communiqué.