10 Food Pairings With Malbec – Appetizers, Entrées, Desserts

food pairing malbec

Today, we will talk about Malbec, the bold and robust red wine that often gets boxed into the “only goes with red meat” wine pairings category. Well, I’m here to spill the beans – Malbec is way more versatile than you might think!

It’s not just for steaks; you can pair Malbec with a bunch of dishes, starting from appetizers and going all the way to desserts. Whether you’re into seafood, chicken, pasta, or even cheese, Malbec can pair with them all. With its rich flavors and moderate tannins, it’s like the chameleon of wines.

So, let’s break free from any old-school ideas and dive into the exciting world of Malbec food pairings.

Malbec With Appetizers

For a classic pairing, try serving Malbec wine with a charcuterie board. The rich and savory flavors of cured meats like prosciutto and salami complement the wine’s deep fruitiness.

red wine from Mendoza with Appetizers

Another great option is to pair Malbec with cheese. The wine’s firm tannins are beautifully balanced by the creaminess of cheeses like gouda or blue cheese.

If you prefer something lighter, serve a fruity Malbec wine with grilled vegetables or bruschetta. The wine’s smoky notes enhance the grilled flavors, while the acidity cuts through the richness of the toppings.

Malbec With Seafood

The rich red fruit notes and smooth tannins of Malbec complement the delicate flavors and textures of seafood, creating a harmonious pairing that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. You can enjoy Malbec’s boldness with grilled salmon, seared scallops, or a buttery lobster—it enhances flavors and adds depth to your dining experience.

seared scallops

The wine’s acidity also helps to cut through the richness of some seafood dishes, providing a refreshing and palate-cleansing effect.

Malbec With Chicken & Poultry

Malbec is a versatile red wine that can complement the richness and tenderness of chicken. The fruity and medium-bodied characteristics of Malbec provide a perfect balance to the savory flavors of poultry.

Whether you’re grilling, roasting, or sautéing your chicken, a glass of Malbec will be a perfect pairing. The wine’s bold flavors of blackberry, plum, and spice can enhance the juiciness of the meat and add depth to the overall taste.

red wine and poultry

The smooth tannins in Malbec also balance the fattiness of certain chicken dishes, creating a harmonious combination of flavors.

Malbec With Pasta

Malbec’s medium body and soft tannins make it an excellent choice to complement the rich and hearty nature of pasta.

The wine’s fruity notes of blackberry and plum can enhance the flavors of any pasta dish – classic tomato-based sauce, a creamy Alfredo, or a spicy arrabbiata. The wine’s acidity also helps to cut through the richness of the pasta.

Malbec’s medium to full body pairs well with various pasta shapes and ingredients, from simple spaghetti with marinara sauce to rich lasagna.

Malbec With Red Meat

red meat and malbec

The rich and juicy characteristics of Malbec complement the flavors and textures of red meat dishes.

The wine’s tannins contribute to balancing the fattiness of the meat, creating a perfect harmony of flavors.Whether you’re savoring a juicy steak, a tender pork roast, or a hearty burger with barbecue sauce, Malbec’s boldness and structure can stand up to the robust flavors of red meat.

Hints of black fruit, warm spices, and earthiness present in Malbec further enhance the meaty flavors, creating a harmonious pairing that is sure to please your palate.

Malbec With Vegetarian Dishes

Malbec is an excellent choice of red wine to pair with vegetarian dishes, such as roasted vegetables, mushroom risotto, or lentil stew. The wine’s moderate tannins can stand up to the richness of these dishes.

The earthy and spicy notes in Malbec can complement the flavors of grilled tofu or vegetable kebabs.

Malbec With Desserts

fruits and red wine

The rich, fruity flavors of Malbec can complement and enhance the flavors of many sweat treats.

For chocolate-based desserts, such as dark chocolate cake or chocolate mousse, a full-bodied Malbec with its notes of blackberry and plum can provide a perfect balance. The velvety tannins of the wine can cut through the richness of the dark chocolate.

Malbec can also be paired with fruity desserts like berry tarts or fruit-based pastries. The natural acidity of the wine can counterbalance the sweetness of the dessert.

Malbec Cheese Pairing

malbec and cheese pairing

Malbec pairs exceptionally well with a variety of cheeses. The rich and fruity notes of Malbec complement the creamy and salty flavors of cheese.

For a classic pairing, try pairing Malbec with a firm and aged cheese such as Cheddar or Gouda. The intense flavors of these cheeses enhance the complexity of the wine and bring out its fruitiness.

If you prefer a softer cheese, opt for a creamy Brie, Camembert, or blue cheese. The velvety texture of these cheeses pairs beautifully with the smooth tannins of Malbec wines.

Malbec Food Pairing Considerations

To get the most out of pairing Malbec wine with food, think about a few key things to enhance your Malbec pairings.

First, consider the intensity of your Malbec. Lighter ones go great with dishes like grilled chicken or salmon, while fuller-bodied ones can handle heartier options like steak or lamb.

red wine and meat

Next, think about how the flavors in the wine interact with your food. Malbec’s fruity and spicy notes, for example, can boost the taste of grilled veggies or roasted meats.

Also, pay attention to the tannins in the wine. If your Malbec has more tannins, pair it with rich, fatty foods.

Pairing with Malbec is a treat for both the wine and your meal. Among a few bold red wines, Malbec’s robust character shines, enhancing flavors from savory steaks to chocolate desserts.


Malbec is a versatile wine that goes well with a variety of foods, from appetizers and seafood to chicken, pasta, red meat, and even desserts.

Whether you’re enjoying a cheese platter or a hearty steak, adding a bottle of Malbec can enhance your dining experience.

So, consider grabbing one of these bold red wines for your next meal!

Stan Kushkin

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