Malbec Wines

Michael Kraus

I tried my first malbec two years ago, when the waiter at a restaurant suggested one of the Argentine wines on the list. There was something mesmerizing about that dense red wine, so full of dark fruit flavors. It wasn't like any other I'd tasted. The malbec grape originally came from France, where it was mostly used in blended wines, but the Argentines and, more recently, Chileans—helped by fertile soil and dry climates—have mastered this varietal, bringing out its best qualities. You can enjoy it for much less than wines made from fruit with more-famous names like cabernet and pinot noir. Viu Manent, Catena, Crios de Susana Balbo, Tilia, and Doña Paula are just a few of the producers I've come to appreciate. I love both their young malbecs, which often taste of black currant, and their older ones, which have notes of anise and truffle. Even with all those flavors and aromas, the best malbecs are always soft, lush, and balanced. —Rachel Tucker, Austin, Texas