Malbec and steak is a match made in heaven, but this wine pairs perfectly with many other types of foods. Hamburgers, BBQ and different types of cheese are great food parings for Malbec. In this wine guide you will find out what kind of food pairs best with Argentina's most important grape variety.
Published March 10th 2021
Malbec is the star grape in Argentina. This juicy bold red wine pairs lovely with many types of dishes. Most people know that it is a great wine to pair with steak, but Malbec pairs with many more dishes than that. In fact, it is one of the few bold reds that pairs with spicy dishes and some pungent cheeses. This wine guide will recommend the best food pairings for Malbec.
Malbec is bold red wine with characteristic herbaceous and fruity flavours. Its moderate tannins and good structure make it an excellent wine to pair with food. It is often described as juicy and leafy. It has flavours of plum, dark berries, herbs and tobacco. Sometimes it also tastes a little bit like chocolate. It has a short aftertaste, but a smokey finish.
Malbec is the most grown grape in Argentina, but it is also grown in Chile, France, Australia, New Zeeland, South Africa, Italy and Spain. It is common to distinguish between two different styles of Malbec:
Note: 84% of all the Malbec is grown in Argentina which makes it very likely that you will be drinking the Argentinian style.
Given most of the bottles of Malbec come from Argentina, steak might be the obvious food pairing but there are many more great food pairings for Malbec. It is a versatile and very food-friendly pairing partner with its black cherry and blackberry components in combination with its chocolate and tobacco flavours. Its smokey finish makes it a great wine for grilled foods. The fruit pairs well with spicy sauces which makes it a good BBQ wine.
In short, when pairing Malbec with food you need to take into consideration the following characteristics of the wine:
The best serving temperature for Malbec is 17-19°C (63-66°F)
The classical pairing for a bottle of Malbec is steak, but it pairs well with many different types of meats. Malbec paired with lamb with mint and herbs is an excellent choice. Malbec is especially a great wine for grilled meat and BBQ (including BBQ sauce!). The following meat dishes will be good food pairings for Malbec.
Malbec is one of few bold red wines that can be served with spicy food. The juicy and fruity flavours of Malbec make it a good wine for slightly spicy dishes. The food can only have a touch of spice, otherwise the wine will be overpowered and taste bitter.
Tips! If your food is very spicy, choose a wine with a touch of sweetness to balance it.
Pecorino is often mentioned as the best cheese for Malbec due to the salty and fruity combination. There are more good cheese pairings for Malbec, such as Provolone, Swiss alp cheeses (Comté, Gruyère) and - believe it or not - blue cheese. Malbec is one of few bold red wines that pairs well with blue cheese. This juicy, fruity wine balances the saltiness in the cheese which makes it a pleasant pairing.
Malbec might not be the obvious pairing for vegetarian foods, but it can be surprisingly good. Any vegetarian BBQ (corn, vegetables, cheeses) will taste good with a smokey Malbec. Try it for yourself! Next time you put vegetarian food on the grill you should pair it with a Malbec wine.
Tips! To learn more about the best wine for vegetarian dishes, we recommend our wine guide for vegetarian food.
Malbec pairs well with heavier appetizers and snacks, such as:
Malbec can also be a good wine pairing for pasta. Meaty pasta dishes, such as Spaghetti bolognese or pasta with meatballs, will pair well with Malbec. Pasta with salsiccia or other sausages will also be good pasta pairings for a bottle of Malbec.
Last, but not least, we want to recommend a Malbec and dessert pairing. Most people think that bold red wines don’t match with sweets and that is true in 99% of the cases. However, a fruity Malbec can be paired with a dark chocolate dessert if the dessert is not too sweet.
Tips! The wine should always be at least as sweet as the dessert.
Enjoy your bottle of Malbec!