What You Should Know About French Malbec

Did you know that the origin of Malbec was thousands of years ago in southwest France, most notably from the small town of Cahors? More recently though, Malbec has become synonymous with Argentina. The French vines planted during the mid-1800s took a liking to the sun and soil of Mendoza. It wasn't long before Malbec began revolutionizing the wine industry of Argentina.

For French Malbec, things took a very different turn. The grape went missing for almost a century due to phylloxera, war, frost and the replanting of other varieties. It wasn't until the 1970s that the Vigouroux family bought an abandoned Château in Cahors and helped bring Malbec back to life.

Read my interview with Château de Haute-Serre's Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux at Grape Collective to find out more about French Malbec and how it's making a comeback.

  Top photo and bottom left: Celebrating 40 vintages of Château de Haute-Serre at Keen's Steakhouse in Manhattan.  Photo at bottom right: The Wine Chef interviewing Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux at Grape Collective on the Upper West Side.

Top photo and bottom left: Celebrating 40 vintages of Château de Haute-Serre at Keen's Steakhouse in Manhattan.  Photo at bottom right: The Wine Chef interviewing Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux at Grape Collective on the Upper West Side.

Discover the difference between the two Malbecs! 

A fun way to learn more about French and Argentinian Malbec is to buy a bottle of each and do a side-by-side comparison. The abundant sunshine and drier air of Mendoza make for a more fruit forward, rich wine. French Malbecs are grown in a damper climate with lots of limestone in the soil, resulting in an earthy, almost smoky wine with lots of minerality and higher tannins.

 

Click here for recommended Argentinian Malbecs. It may be a little harder to find French Malbec since less is produced. The 2012 Chateau de Haut-Serre can be found at Grape Collective. Other French Malbecs to look for: Château du CèdreChâteau LagrézetteChâteau Haut-MonplaisirClos TroteligotteJean-Luc BaldèsChâteau VincensChâteau Famaey and Paul Hobbs & Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux (this last wine is a joint venture between the Vigouroux family and Sonoma winemaker/consultant Paul Hobbs).