Malbec cheese pairing

As Malbecs gain in popularity (which they have been with increasing speed over the last few years) you’ll far more commonly see them being served alongside food as a paired wine. Although Malbec is a beautiful wine in an of itself (and doesn’t require much to really shine) the strong flavors can be almost overpowering to many foods, so if you’re serving with a cheeseboard, finding a good Malbec cheese pairing is absolutely essential, as you’ll find that lighter cheeses are often easily overpowered by the strong fruity notes in the Malbec.

Malbec tasting notes

First, we should consider the tasting notes for a malbec. Strong on the fruity aromas, we’ll often find notes of black cherry and dark forest fruits (blackberries and blueberries) alongside more complex notes of cocoa, coffee, and chocolate.

With this in mind, it’s probably pretty clear how getting a great Malbec cheese pairing is a delicate art, as these notes could easily overpower many lighter cheeses. Fortunately, Malbecs tend to have medium acidity and tannins so while still full-bodied do not completely overpower the food.

Malbec and cheese pairings

When pairing Malbec with cheeses, look for strong tasting and rich cheeses. Go for a soft to semi-firm cows milk cheese or opt for a stronger tasting goats cheese if possible. Malbec wine pairs beautifully with hard matured cheddars, and will tend to pair well with any cheeses which are often associated with strong ruby ports for a pairing.

It’s a bit of a rogue suggestion, but as a final note, why not pair Malbec with a blue cheese? While not your traditional Malbec cheese pairing, the fruitier notes in the Malbec really help to bring out some of the complexity in the cheese, and both of the strong flavors prevent the other from dominating the palette.

If you don’t want to crack open a bottle of Malbec to taste whether or not it pairs well with your food then there is always a bit of a cheating alternative you can try – by pairing the cheese with the fruit notes associated with the Malbec itself. Deep notes of black cherries, blackberries, blueberries and plums are evident in most Malbecs – so why not get yourself some of these fruits to try pairing with your cheeses? You can even serve some of these fruits up in your cheeseboard along with your Malbec at a later date. Serving cherries with a cheeseboard is definitely out of the ordinary but trust us you won’t be sorry you tried!

All in all, Malbec is a brilliant wine, and a fine addition to be served alongside any cheeseboard – just be careful to ensure that the strong flavors don’t dominate the palette. A fine wine deserves a fine cheese to match it!

Malbec cheese pairing
Malbec cheese pairing is a delicate art, but once mastered you’ll find it’s an excellent way to enhance your cheeseboard. Move over port!

Pairing Malbec with other foods

Once you’ve mastered the Malbec cheese pairing, why not experiment with serving Malbec with other foods? A true staple of the Argentinian diet, Malbec will often be served alongside dark red meats and poultry – think steaks, lamb and earthy or smoked chicken.

Every Malbec is different, and some range from full-bodied to less-full-bodied, but as a rule of thumb they tend to be pretty far on the spectrum from ‘light’.  Any earthy flavors are the way to go, and you can often find Malbec pairs beautifully with very strong flavored dishes – you have to look no further than the traditional Argentinian accompaniment to steak as chimichurri dressing to see proof evident of this!

One thought on “Malbec cheese pairing – making the most of your malbec

  1. Rob Wilson

    One of the best things about pairing Malbec with cheese by far is the strong fruity notes (eg, plums) that are so evident in most vintages. Similar to how Port has a “jammy” quality which helps it pair fantastically with cheeses, I think you get a similar experience with Malbec.

    When you have a very fruit-forward wine, it almost has qualities reminiscent of a chutney!

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