Malbec is widely regarded as Argentina’s signature grape. And with vineyards around the country producing a wide range of styles, it’s easy to see why.
In the north, regions like the Cafayate Valley have warm days, long growing seasons and high-altitude vineyards, which leads to robust, fruit-forward wines that are higher in alcohol. In the south, regions like Río Negro have cooler-climates and short growing seasons. These Malbecs tend to be lighter with crisp acidity. The larger central wine regions of Argentina include Mendoza, La Rioja and San Juan. Vineyards bordering the mountains, are planted at different elevations, which help to create a diversity of flavors and styles.
Check out our favorite Argentine Malbecs for every budget below.
Viña Cobos 2017 Bramare Malbec (Uco Valley); $42, 94 Points. The nose on this Malbec is pure and direct but also lusty and rich, with aromas of blackberry, wild herbs, fine leather and turned earth. A calibrated palate is both lush and vibrant, while blackberry, cassis and chocolaty oak flavors finish with a smokier whack of toasty oak along with warmth, depth and length. Drink this exemplary Malbec through 2028. Paul Hobbs Wines. Editors’ Choice. —Michael Schachner
Casa Natal 2018 Reserva Malbec (Mendoza) $38, 93 Points. Ripe blackberry and dark plum aromas are pulpy and jammy but not fat or overextracted. A pure and racy palate is powerful but well structured. Blackberry, dark plum and chalky mineral flavors remain lively on a focused finish. Drink through 2024. W. Direct. —M.S.
Colomé 2018 Estate Malbec (Salta) $25, 92 Points. In this wine, a saturated dark color and potent aromas of blackberry, prune and grainy oak lead to a deeply layered palate that’s lush and dense. Herbal blackberry, cassis and chocolate flavors are fully ripe, while this Malbec holds onto its packed-fruit character on a long finish with a touch of heat. Drink through 2025. Folio Fine Wine Partners. —M.S.
Doña Paula 2017 Selección de Bodega Alluvia Vineyard Malbec (Gualtallary) $40, 92 Points. Leathery blackberry and cassis aromas precede a crisp, linear palate with piping acidity. A blast of mixed-berry flavors is more surface-level than deep and complex. As with the nose and palate, this Malbec from a chalk-rich alluvial vineyard finishes with pep. Drink through 2032. Prestige Beverage Group. —M.S.
Wapisa 2018 Malbec (Río Negro Valley); $24, 91 points. Earthy black fruit aromas include notes of sun-dried prune and cinnamon. This Patagonian Malbec is ripe and full but popping with cool-climate acidity. Blackberry and peppercorn flavors finish smooth but firm enough to avoid any semblance of softness. Vino Del Sol. —M.S.
Las Estelas 2017 Finca Mangato Alto de las Piedras Malbec (Tupungato); $20, 90 points. Plum and berry aromas are accented by a whiff of desert brush and hefty lemony oak. A powerfully built palate has a resiny feel to it, while oaky blackberry flavors show a strong barrel influence backed by herbal hints and smacking tannins. This is excellent for an inaugural wine, with room to improve in subsequent years. Seaview Imports. —M.S.
Verum 2019 Malbec (Alto Valle del Río Negro) $20, 90 Points. Early aromas of chocolaty oak and vanilla are quickly replaced by red berry, plum and rubbery scents. This is a forward style of Patagonian Malbec with healthy balance and intensity on the palate. Savory blackberry and peppery spice flavors finish steady, with modest tannic bite. Vino Del Sol. —M.S.
William Knuttel 2017 Tentadora Malbec (Cafayate); $28, 90 points. Herbal, saucy berry and cassis aromas come with a gamy note that adds complexity to the nose. A chippy palate is jammy but anchored by rough tannins. Roasted, herbal black-fruit flavors are common to Cafayate in Argentina’s north, while this Malbec finishes with chocolaty oak and regionally familiar flavors of mint, wild herbs and roasted black fruits. Drink through 2024. William Knuttel Winery. —M.S.