Find the most essential etiquette considerations on how to serve and drink Malbec and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and drink malbec

What Malbec etiquette is

Malbec etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Malbec wines. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Malbec etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Malbec etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Malbec

Malbec is a variety of purple grapes. It is used to make red wine. Large producers are Argentina, France, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Malbec wines tend to be intense, and dark in color, with high tannins and a fruity aroma. 

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Malbec

1) How to store Malbec

Store Malbec in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. 

Place the bottles in a horizontal position. Keep them away from sources of heat. The bottles should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. 

Do not store Malbec in the fridge or the freezer. Both are too cold and will spoil the wine.

After opening it, drink Malbec within two or three days. Do not keep it longer. 

2) How to prepare Malbec

Most Malbec wines are medium to full-bodied and intense in flavor. Thus, they usually benefit from decanting. 

Before serving, pour the full bottle of wine into a decanter. Leave it there to breathe. The amount of time needed for decanting depends on the wine and personal tastes. In general, keep Malbec in a decanter for 30 to 60 minutes.

You do not need to refrigerate Malbec wines before serving.

Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. The condensation waters down the wine and dilutes its taste.

3) How to serve & present Malbec

Serve Malbec wines at room temperature. The ideal temperature is about 18°C (65°F). Cooler temperatures risk preventing Malbec wines from releasing their aromas. Thus, do not put the bottle in the fridge. Similarly, do not keep the bottle in an ice bucket.

Present Malbec in its bottle or the decanter. On formal occasions, it is best to present the wine in its bottle, even if you let it decant first. After decanting it, pour Malbec back into its bottle using a small kitchen funnel.

Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork. Serve Malbec in red wine glasses, which are larger and wider compared to white wine glasses. Fill the glass between ⅓ and ½.

4) When to serve & drink Malbec

Malbec wines can fit most occasions. However, they tend to be more popular in informal gatherings.

You can serve Malbec wines for aperitivo, and pre-meal drinks. Malbec can accompany a barbecue, brunch, or light lunch.

5) Food & aromas to pair Malbec with

Malbec wines tend to pair well with strong flavors. 

Pair Malbec with red meat, steaks, or burgers. With roasted or grilled chicken or poultry. 

Avoid pairing Malbec with delicate flavors. Full-bodied Malbec does not go well with salads. Do not pair Malbec with fish or seafood. Exceptions can be grilled tuna or swordfish.

Malbec can accompany seasoned cheeses that are medium or low in salt. Gouda. Asiago. Cheddar. Colby. It can match well with goat cheeses too. 

6) How to drink Malbec

Drink Malbec in red wine chalices. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.

Drink it in small sips. A glass of Malbec should last between 10 and 30 minutes.

Never drink shots of Malbec.

Never add ice to Malbec. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added to low-quality or cheap beverages. Thus, adding ice to Malbec can be seen as an offense to the quality of the wine, and therefore to your host.

Malbec etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst Malbec etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk.
  • 7/10. Drinking shots of Malbec.
  • 7/10. Pairing Malbec with the wrong food or aromas.
  • 6/10. Not holding the glass by the stem. 
  • 4/10. Adding ice to Malbec.

Additional information for properly serving Malbec

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Malbec wines depend on the grape mix, alcohol volume, geography, and production method.

In general, Malbec wines contain about 80 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a red wine glass of 150 ml (5 oz). It contains 120 calories.

How to buy the best Malbec

A crucial factor in Malbec etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.


Malbec wines are available all year round.

Choose the best

Malbec wines can greatly vary in quality.

Nowadays, the most popular Malbec wines tend to come from so-called New World countries. Such as Argentina or Australia. 

Alternatives to Malbec

As a substitute for Malbec wines, consider another medium to full-bodied red wine. Merlot. Nero d’Avola. Syrah.