Malbec shines under Columbia Valley’s sunshine

By on July 2, 2017
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Washington Malbec is coming on strong.

Malbec is becoming a much more important wine grape in Washington. The red Bordeaux variety is gaining momentum each year. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Malbec has become a key variety in Washington wine country the past decade or so, producing some of the most remarkable and stylish reds in the Pacific Northwest.

The grape thrives in its ancestral home in France’s Bordeaux region, and shines as an international variety in the high-altitude vineyards of Argentina’s Mendoza Valley. But in North America, Washington’s arid Columbia Valley seems greatly suited to the juicy purple grape, even outscoring those few examples being made in California.

One reason for Malbec’s appeal is because its structure is based on acidity rather than tannin. As a result, the ripe flavors of purple, black and blue fruits are propped up on the palate and allowed to take the spotlight, without being burdened by harsh, drying tannins. This not only makes Malbecs more approachable, but also more food friendly with such dishes as grilled or braised meats, venison, buffalo. pork and even heavier Italian dishes.

Here are nine delicious Malbecs made from Washington grapes that we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the producers.

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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