Malbec vs Syrah: Flavors, Wine Regions & Food Pairings

The Malbec vs syrah grape varieties are popular types of dry wines. Wine lovers deciding which wine is best for you depends on the fruity flavors, food pairings, alcohol content other factors. Find out which of these wine varieties to enjoy next with this Malbec & Shiraz guide.

Malbec vs Syrah

Syrah Wine Overview

Syrah wine, also known as Shiraz, is one of the most popular red wine varieties. Since Shiraz or Syrah wine has below-average tannin levels compared to other reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a choice introduction to red wines.

Syrah Flavor Profile

The Syrah wine flavor profile varies depending on factors like geography and climate. While useful to compare climate differences like a warmer climate vs cooler climates, it is more difficult to find this information on wine bottle labels. Therefore, we’ll look at geographical differences.

Old World Syrah

In the wine world, wines produced in Europe are described as Old World, while wines made outside out of Europe are called New World. Old World Syrah wines are known for their earthy and savory flavors.

New World Syrah

New World Syrah wines usually emphasize fruit notes. When you see a wine described as fruit-forward, it means that its fruit flavors, such as dark fruit flavors, dominate in the wine. The fruit flavors in Syrah wine are typically more dominant in warm climate Syrah.

Which Wine Regions Produce Syrah?

Multiple wine-producing regions make Syrah wines. The notable European regions include France (e.g., rhone valley or the rhône valley), Spain’s Aragon region, and Portugal. Outside of Europe, the notable wine regions include the United States (e.g., Washington State and Oregon).

In Australia, the Syrah wine grape variety is usually described as Shiraz. The name change is due to the efforts of the Australian wine industry to create a distinct wine. Technically, French and Australian grapes have much in common, yet climate and wine-making decisions are quite different.

Syrah Wine Food Pairings

There are multiple perfect pairing options for Syrah wine lovers. Assuming your wine has the typical taste, the following foods are good bets:

  • Meats: Grilled burgers and ribs
  • Vegetarian: Syrah is a good pairing for eggplant and portabella mushrooms.
  • Fish: Syrah pairs well with salmon (find out more about the best wine with salmon).
  • Cheese. Blue cheeses, including Roquefort pair well with Syrah wine.

Malbec Wine Overview

Malbec is appealing because of its classic flavors like black fruit (i.e., black cherries), plum, and tobacco notes. The wine is also available in consumer-friendly price ranges from Argentina and other countries. While it may not be as well known as Pinot Noir, Malbec producers offer a coveted wine experience for those in the know.

Which Wine Regions Produce Malbec?

When you ask for a Malbec bottle of wine, you will probably be offered Argentine wine. Argentina has produced some of the most famous bottles of Malbec wine. However, the best Malbec wine also includes French Malbec, so make sure you explore both varieties. Beyond France and Argentina, other wine producers of note for Malbec include Chile, the US, Australia, and a small amount in South Africa.

Malbec Wine Food Pairings

The black cherry flavors in Malbec wines and moderate tannins indicate they can pair well with various food items. Varietal wine – made only from Malbec grapes – is an effective food pairing for the following cases.

  • Meat Pairings: Malbec goes well with steak, pork, and lamb. Malbec also pairs well with venison and other game meats.
  • Fish Pairings. Like Syrah, Malbec pairs well with salmon.
  • Vegetarian Pairings. Your options include eggplant, beans (e.g., bean burritos), and mushrooms.
  • Cheese. A glass of Malbec wine pairs well with cheddar, Colby, and Gouda.

The Best Syrah Wines For Every Budget

Choosing between Malbec vs Shiraz should be about taste and experience, not money. Fortunately, there are excellent wines made from Syrah and Malbec grapes at several prices. Here are a few Syrah wines to seek out at the wine store.

  • Francois Villard Cornas ‘Jouvet’ (Rhone Valley, France). Available for under $50, this wine offers black cherry flavors and fine tannins. The wine has received a score of 93 from wine critics.
  • Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage (Rhone Valley, France). Priced at more than $300 per bottle, this is a special occasion wine for most of us. The wine has complex notes of black fruit, spices, leather, and coffee).
  • Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz (South Australia, Australia). Priced at less than $30, this Australian Shiraz is a wonderful introduction to Australian Shiraz / Syrah. The flavor profile includes raspberry, anise, vanilla, and pepper.

The Malbec Wines For Every Budget

The following appealing wine options offer Malbec’s characteristic flavors for a great average price. Argentinian vineyards deserve to be front and center here due to the great fruity taste of their wines.

  • Catena Zapata ‘Angelica Zapata Alta’ Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina). Priced around $50, this wine has won gold at the Global Malbec masters. The wine combines floral notes, red fruit flavors, and pleasant acidity.
  • Familia Zuccardi ‘Jose Zuccardi’ Malbec (Uco Valley, Argentina). This Argentine wine offers incredible value – it is priced at under $40 and has earned a 95 score from wine critics. The wine is a blend of 95% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Vinalba Gran Reserva Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina). Priced at under $25, this vegan Argentine wine has earned a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge. The wine’s flavor profile includes black cherry notes, coca, and spices.

Malbec vs Syrah In Conclusion

Syrah vs Malbec wines has several key differences. While both are red wines, they have different tastes. Syrah wines typically have a very dark appearance and black fruit flavors. Malbec wines have dark fruit flavors like blackberry, plum, and cherry. Wine regions are the greatest difference – Argentina and France are leaders in Malbec. Syrah wine is grown in France, elsewhere in Europe, and even in Australia.

Malbec vs Syrah: Flavors, Wine Regions & Food Pairings
Scroll to top