Malbec is full of rich and lush dark fruits and hits soft on the palate with medium acidity and tannins. This purple tinted wine may have a big profile, but it's smooth and rounded, making it versatile when it comes to food pairings. Whether you are drinking a malbec from Mendoza or Cahors, there are a handful of dishes that make for excellent malbec food pairings.
Explore Malbec Food Pairings
Dark fruit flavors of red plum, black cherry, and blackberry paired with warm spices, vanilla, and chocolate make up the full-bodied profile of many Argentinean malbecs. When grown in cooler climates, like France, the grape expresses a few more tart fruit notes like red currant and raspberry with a savory side, higher acidity, and slightly grippier tannins. With both styles, the full body makes it a great wine to match with fuller-flavored dishes with an equally rich profile.
Shy away from anything with more delicate flavors, as they will quickly become overwhelmed and lost to the bold character of the wine. Rather, stick with rustically-sauced dishes, herby meats and vegetables, and stronger cheeses with a sharp bite or tangy acidity that cuts through those rich, brambly fruit notes. Anything that's been on the grill grates is also a great match for malbec. So, open a bottle of your favorite malbec and get pairing with these perfect matches.
Grilled Flank Steak
A well seasoned char-grilled flank steak can easily take front and center, but when paired with a juicy malbec, the duo becomes more than the sum of its parts. Because malbec is softer and rounder, the leaner cut of meat is a great match, and the inherent fruitiness in the wine brings balance to the earthy characteristics in the steak. While you have the grill on, char some red onion and root vegetables--their sweetness will bring out similar traits in the wine.
Stilton is rich, creamy, and pungent without being overtly "blue-cheesy". It's just the right amount of sweet, salty, creamy, and crumbly to pair with a soft, yet full-bodied malbec. The deep brambly fruit notes in the wine are exaggerated in the best ways through the subtle sweetness in the cheese, while the saltiness balances the softness in the wine.
The mix of Sicilian fried eggplant, onion, tomato, and piquant vinegar is incredibly savory. The juicy blackberry notes and soft tannins in malbec help to round out the acid-driven dish and give depth to the pairing. Stick to a malbec from Argentina for this one for the extra full-body and warm spices that will play well into the flavors in the caponata.
Blue Cheese Burger
A loaded burger with tangy blue cheese and caramelized onions was made to be served up alongside a glass of malbec. The lush dark fruit notes are a perfect match for that charred burger vibe, while the onions bring out some of the natural sweetness in the fruit forward wine. The salty, tangy blue cheese adds another dimension to the pairing and balances some of the heavier, richer flavors with its sharpness.
Ratatouille is a perfect combo of saucy, stewed vegetables that lean into umami flavors. There is plenty of bright acidity, salt, and tang in the dish, and it needs a grounded wine like malbec to bring some softness to the palate. The almost jammy fruit with underlying violet and black pepper brings complexity and rounds out the paring.
Herby Chicken & Rice
Because malbec doesn't have huge, grippy tannins, it's easy to pair with a range of proteins and makes a great match for lighter meats, such as roast chicken. The chicken and rice are the canvas here with the idea being you jazz it up with aromatics that elevate the dish and pair well with a juicy malbec. Herbs like sage, rosemary and mint go beautifully with malbec, along with slow-roasted shallots and garlic and warm spices like clove, allspice, and cinnamon.
Cremini mushrooms marinated in champagne vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and bay leaf pack a savory punch and offer a meaty texture that malbec really stands up to. Serve these as a snack, side, or the main event on toast!
Go Bold With Malbec Food Pairings
The bold, yet soft nature of malbec is best matched with equally full-bodied dishes like grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and pungent cheeses. The lush black cherry and blackberry notes with hints of vanilla and chocolate will really shine and make these pairings feel extra decadent.