The Difference Between Malbec and Pinot Noir: Which One is the Winner?

The selection of wine for your event might be difficult due to the wide variety available. The greatest wines are those that complement your palate, although there are occasionally a lot of alternatives, such as Malbec vs. Pinot Noir. Two red grape types, Malbec and Pinot Noir, both come from France’s Bordeaux area.

Despite sharing the same country of birth, they are distinguished by their individual qualities—color, body, smells, and perfumes. We will go into more detail about the differences between Malbec and Pinot Noir in this article.

The Bottom Line about the Difference between Malbec and Pinot Noir


Pinot Noir
Origin  Sud-Ouest, France Burgundy, France
Taste  Varying based on where the grapes are growing. Basically, the main flavors are deep dark fruit aromas of plum and blackberry, red fruit, and a flavor of black cherry with a hint of raspberry. It smells spicy, herbal, and earthy. Along with hints of dirt and mushrooms, flavors of black cherry, red currants, and berries are typical.
Style Full-bodied red wine. Lighter-bodied red wine.
Description robust red wine The wines usually end mellow, silky, and low-tannin, with greater acidity. 
ABV 13-14% – In cooler regions: 12-13.5% alcohol by volume (abv).

– In warmer climates abv range of 13.5-15%.

Food Pairing Leaner meats like turkey, roasted pig, beef, or game meat, cheeseboards, etc.  It pairs nicely with a wide range of dishes because of its delicate tannins and well-balanced acidity.
Serving Tips  between 60-65°F

between 55-60°F

What is Malbec?

What is Malbec?
Malbec, also referred to as Côt and Auxxerois, is a grape that was first cultivated in the Sud-Ouest of France. (Source: Internet)

1. Origin:

Malbec is a grape that originates in the Sud-Ouest of France and is also known as Côt and Auxxerois. The exotic Montpellier (Languedoc-Roussillon) and Gaillac (Sud-Ouest) grapes are the types that make up the thick-skinned grape and are a natural cross.

Today, Cahors, a little village on a river with switchbacks that runs gently in the direction of Bordeaux, is where the majority of France’s Malbec is produced.

2. Taste:

Depending on the area, terroir, and winemaker, malbec has somewhat different tastes. Wines with deep dark fruit aromas of plum and blackberry are produced by malbec grapes from warmer regions like Argentina and Australia.

Malbec from colder vineyard conditions, such as Cahors in France, produces a more delicate wine with a predominant flavor of red fruit and a flavor of black cherry with a hint of raspberry. 

3. Style:

Full-bodied red wine.

4. Description:

Malbec is a robust red wine that mostly grows in Argentina. Malbec wine, which is known for its ripe, blackberry notes and smokey finish, is a suitable substitute for more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Compared to Syrah and Mourvedre, Malbec wine is a rich purple-red that is virtually opaque. Malbec wines, however, frequently have a vivid purple rim.

5. Food Pairing:

Malbec goes best with leaner meats like turkey, roasted pig, beef, or game meat. Malbec also goes well with cheeseboards and meals including blue cheese, such as blue cheese souffle.

Bell peppers, potatoes, arugula, onions, beets, lentils, and black beans are some vegetables that pair well with Malbec. Malbec won’t taste as well when combined with seafood, acidic sauces, or bitter greens.

6. Serving Tips:

Place your bottle of Malbec wine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. This will let it drop to just under room temperature, bringing out the wine’s full richness and depth. Serve your Malbec in a large glass after decanting it for 30 minutes to bring out its tastes and aromas.

What is Pinot Noir?

What is Pinot Noir?
For a sizable period, Burgundy has been the most well-known region for Pinot Noir. (Source: Internet)

1. Origin:

Burgundy has been the most well-known region for Pinot Noir for a significant amount of time. In the United States, Sonoma County in California, home to the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Alexander Valley, is the epicenter of Pinot Noir production. High-quality Pinot Noir is also produced in Santa Barbara County.

In the northern hemisphere, the Willamette Valley in Oregon has become a mecca for top-notch Pinot Noir, while in the southern, Chile and New Zealand are emerging as Pinot Noir gravity centers. 

2. Taste:

It smells spicy, herbal, and earthy. Along with hints of dirt and mushrooms, flavors of black cherry, red currants, and berries are typical. You could detect elements of wood, tobacco, cocoa, vanilla, and spices.

The medium acid along with the small to medium tannins of Pinot noir makes it a particularly well-balanced red wine.

3. Style:

Lighter-bodied red wine.

4. Description:

The dry, light-bodied red wine known as Pinot Noir was first widely cultivated in France. The wines usually end mellow, silky, and low-tannin, with greater acidity.  Along with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, Pinot Noir is one of the three principal grape varietals used to make Champagne.

But red Pinot Noir gets the most of the focus, and it may produce anything from inexpensive, more fruit-forward specimens to bottles that give enthusiasts cold chills.

5. Food Pairing:

It pairs nicely with a wide range of dishes because of its delicate tannins and well-balanced acidity. Almost any type of meat, including grilled salmon, smoked turkey, and short barbecued ribs as well as vegetables like mushrooms, eggplant, or curries made with lentils, make excellent complements with Pinot Noir.

While yet having enough substance to go with spicy foods, it is delicate enough to not overshadow delicate meals.

6. Serving Tips:

Serve Pinot Noir in a red wine glass at room temperature (60 degrees Fahrenheit). When sipping, the scent will be freely released thanks to the open bell.

Difference between Malbec and Pinot Noir 

difference between Malbec and Pinot Noir

1. Grapes: 

Frost and coulure-prone grapes are the main causes of Malbec’s decline in France. Argentina now produces it in large quantities and a variety of forms.

Argentina’s north is renowned for producing thick-skinned, concentrated grapes that are used to make expensive wines, whereas the southern region is famed for supple, thin-skinned Malbec. 

On the other hand, Pinot Noir is a terroir-reflective varietal that exhibits distinctive qualities when grown in various regions of the world.

2. Alcohol content: 

Malbec is typically dry, although depending on the wine’s age and manner of production, the finish may be somewhat sweet. The typical alcohol concentration is from 13.5 to 15%.

Contrarily, Pinot Noir often has low quantities of sugar, which leads to little or absent sweetness. The typical alcohol percentage is from 11.5 to 15%.

3. Taste: 

Blackberry and cherry flavors are frequently present in Malbec wines. They’re popular for carrying a spicy undertone that Pinot Noir might not often have. Pinot Noir wines often have a lighter body with aromas of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and earth.

4. Style: 

Malbec is a prominent varietal wine made in the Cahors area of France. In Bordeaux, where it was born, although it is less well-liked, it is typically combined with the top 5 cultivars.

Argentina, however, has more people than the other two combined since it received 84% of the global harvest. It is frequently mixed with Merlot in Australia and New Zealand, producing a smooth, fruit-forward wine.

Pinot Noir is a grape variety that is frequently used to make still-red wines throughout the world. It is also used to make sparkling wines. For the renowned Champagne, it is combined with Pinot Munier and Chardonnay. Due to this, Pinot Chardonnay blends for sparkling wines also gained appeal abroad.

5. Food pairing: 

Additionally, Pinot Noir goes well with a range of foods like chicken, pig, salmon, and tuna. It can also hold its own against heartier meals like mushroom risotto.  

Pinot Noir is perhaps more adaptable when it involves food matching because of its strong acidity and often fresh flavors with minimal tannins. You may enjoy them with practically any meat, even fatty ones like duck, salmon, or tuna. A bottle of Pinot Noir goes nicely with grilled steak, lamb, and venison.

It’s important to note that fruitier varieties go better with fatty fish like salmon or tuna, while more tannin-rich varieties go well with game birds like duck.

Malbec pairs beautifully with grilled or roasted meats, especially beef and game meat, because of its substantial body and strong tannin content. Richer meals work well with Malbec since it pairs better with foods that also have a strong accent.

You may pair a full-bodied Malbec with Manchego, aged Cheddar, or blue cheese for appetizers. Pasta with savory and rich tastes, such as those found in meaty and thick sauces like spaghetti Bolognese and baked ziti with sausages, will be a terrific choice for the main course. 

6. Serving: 

Malbec and Pinot Noir are simple to serve because they don’t require a lot of cooling. Pinot Noir should be served at a temperature of 55 °F (12 °C). Malbec should be served at 15–17 Celsius or 59–64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be mindful of the weather where you are before opening the wine bottle. In the warmer summer months, depending on how hot it is outdoors, you might need to cool wine for five to ten minutes. Malbec and Pinot Noir, on the other hand, do not require chilling throughout the winter.

7. Price: 

Because Malbec is so popular in Argentina, we frequently employ their degree of quality, which also means the price point.

For instance, we may identify $12 to $20 selections that are all suitable for a first-time or informal dining experience. For wines costing more than $20, special grapes are frequently used, and some are even aged in wood to add extra characteristics.

However, because Pinot Noir continues to be mainly produced in France, you should prepare to pay extra for a nice bottle of this kind of wine.

The USA, on the other hand, is the second-largest producer, and there are frequently excellent options available in virtually every price range. For instance, the 2018 Australian Fowles, retails for under $20.

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Between Malbec and Pinot Noir, Which Bottle Should We Choose?

In the end, whether you choose Malbec or Pinot Noir will rely on the situation and personal preference. Malbec is the best wine to drink if you want a fuller-bodied flavor, while Pinot Noir is better if you prefer a lighter, fruitier flavor. 

Due to the variations in the cost of production and grape availability, Malbec is often somewhat cheaper than Pinot Noir in terms of price. The tastes of both types are at their utmost freshness while they are new, but they both have excellent aging potential.

In the end, a fantastic choice depends on the occasion or dinner and might be either bottle.

Consider the sort of meal you’re serving when choosing a wine to match it. Heavier meats, such as salmon or risotto, should go well with Pinot Noir, while lighter foods, like risotto or salmon, should be served with Malbec.

There is no right decision to choose one of these two bottles of wine, and there are a variety of considerations to make. Savour the distinct aromas that each wine has to offer while sipping on a glass of your choice!

Editor’s Note: Malbec and Pinot are different types of grapes. Malbec wine is made mostly from Malbec grapes and has a robust, slightly fruity taste with rich tannin flavors. Pinot grapes can be used to make a variety of wines, such as Pinot Gris, which is a light, crisp, dry white wine. 

Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is a rich, red wine with berry undertones, slight oak notes, and medium tannins. Some people enjoy serving Pinot Gris with frozen green grapes on hot summer evenings for a refreshing twist.

Why is Malbec Popular in Argentina?

Malbec is a key component in Argentina’s developing wine industry and has become a national symbol of the nation. In 1868, French agronomic Michel Pouget transported cuttings of the grape to Argentina for the first time. Malbec has thrived ever since and today accounts for over fifty percent of all red wines made in Argentina.

There are several reasons why Malbec is popular in Argentina. This thick-skinned grape type enjoys hot weather and cool nights throughout the ripening season, which the warm environment offers as excellent circumstances.

The high calcium carbonate content of the soil in Argentina also contributes to ideal acidity levels that are beneficial to the tannins present in Malbec grapes. These elements work together to allow Malbec to create beautifully colored, extremely concentrated wines with powerful flavors and supple tannins.


1. Does Malbec or Pinot Noir have a higher amount of sugar?

Due to the wide range in sweetness between these two categories of wines, this is a challenging topic to answer. In general, Pinot Noir may be anything from quite acidic and dry to fairly sweet and fruity. In contrast, Malbec often has greater structure and tannin, allowing it to typically support higher alcohol content as well as a somewhat sweeter flavor.

2. Is Malbec the Red Wine that is good for people’s health?

Malbec wine is not always the healthiest red wine because other red wines may also have some advantages. Resveratrol, an ingredient found in higher concentrations in red wines like Pinot Noir, and Shiraz, may help shield the body against chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease. 

3. Does Malbec contain a lot of sugar?

Malbec does not include a lot of sugar. It is a bottle of red wine with a residual sugar content of under 1%. Malbec typically has a strong acidity, a medium body, and a low tannin content. Dark fruit, earthy herbs, and the odd tinge of coffee or chocolate may all be found in it.

To generate a more nuanced flavor, malbec is sometimes mixed with other varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

4. What other wine can you compare Malbec to?

Red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are sometimes likened to Malbec. It has a rich purple hue and tastes and smells of dark fruit, including blackberry, plum, spices, oak, and leather.

Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, its tannins are often milder but can still be extremely strong. Malbec has also been likened to Petite Syrah of California and Tempranillo of Spain, in addition to the wines already listed.

5. Can Malbec Be a Suitable Wine for Newbies?

Yes, novices should try Malbec wine. It is adaptable and goes well with many different cuisines. Malbec is a fantastic choice for anyone inexperienced in the wine world because it is also reasonably priced.

6. How Does Your Favorite Pinot Noir Reflect on You?

Pinot Noir drinkers frequently possess sophistication and a taste for better things in life. Pinot Noir drinkers are frequently curious, self-assured, and creative people who appreciate discovering new tastes and scents. They frequently have a passion for nature, literature, music, and the arts. In the end, those who enjoy Pinot Noir have a taste for fine wines that honor the special events in life.

7. Is Pinot Noir considered a High-End Wine?

The answer is that Pinot Noir is regarded as a particularly elegant wine. It is frequently connected to special events and is a red wine that can be either dry or sweet.

Wines from the Pinot Noir grape are noted for their lighter bodies and rich flavors, which make them the ideal match for almost any occasion. Due to their adaptability, they also go well with food, making them ideal for events such as dinner parties. 

8. Is Malbec an Excellent Wine for Sipping?

Yes, Malbec makes an excellent wine to enjoy. It boasts a robust taste profile with notes of black fruit and spice like cloves, tobacco, and pepper that is both silky and strong. The wine has richness and structure from the tannins, which make it wonderful to sip slowly.

Additionally, this kind goes well with meals like steak, lamb, pasta, mushrooms, and roasted vegetables, making it the perfect supper partner.

9. Does Pinot Noir Make a Good First Wine?

Yes, Pinot Noir makes a great wine for beginners. It’s light, fruity aromas make it an excellent start to red wines, and you can easily locate a bottle that matches your budget thanks to its relatively modest price point.

10. When is the best time to drink Pinot Noir?

The best time to enjoy Pinot Noir will depend on personal choice, thus there is no set solution to this topic. Pinot Noir may be enjoyed both young and fresh by some individuals and after a few years by others. The choice of the ideal moment to consume Pinot Noir ultimately rests with the person.

11. Is Malbec a Wine for Dinner?

Malbec can indeed make a fantastic dinner wine. It goes well with heartier foods like lamb or steak because of its full-bodied taste, dark berry notes, and traces of spice. The increased acidity of Malbec compared to other red wines can help reduce the richness of greasy dishes. It’s understandable why Malbec is a preferred beverage among diners given its robust taste profile and food-friendliness.

12. Which Red Wine is the Cleanest?

Personal taste will determine which red wine is the cleanest, but some of the most common options include Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel. All of these wines usually have a light to medium body, low levels of tannins and acidity, and a pleasant finish. These reds are excellent for drinking alone or with meals. 

13. Does Malbec have a Pinot Noir-like flavor?

Malbec is lighter, more fragrant, and less alcoholic than Pinot Noir, which is meatier, grittier, and more structured. Compared to Pinot Noir, which has a low tannin level, malbec has an average to high tannin concentration, making some people think of it as an easier-to-drink red.

14. What is drier, Pinot Noir, or Malbec?

Grapes with a high residual sugar content will create dry wine with a higher ABV. The ABV of Malbec typically runs from 13.5% to 15%, while that of Pinot Noir varies from 11.5% to 15%, depending on the type.

15. Is Pinot Noir the best red wine for your health?

In terms of red wine, Pinot Noir is thought to be the healthiest option. Pinot grapes have a thin outer layer, therefore Pinot Noir has low tannin but high quantities of resveratrol, in contrast to many of the other red wines.

16. Is Shiraz preferable to Malbec?

Shiraz and Malbec are two widely popular wines and for good reason. Like a peppery, fuller-bodied merlot, malbec is renowned for its ripe, dark fruit notes and savory undertones. Shiraz is appreciated for its full-bodied, juicy taste that combines luscious red fruits, pepper, and spices.

17. Is Malbec a full-bodied red wine?

Malbec is a rich red wine with a moderately low acidity that occasionally exhibits flavor characteristics of blackberries, dark cherries, plums, and olives.

18. Does Malbec have a low cost?

Several vineyards in Argentina make Malbec that is reasonably priced, costing between $10 and $20. One of the best wines for the consumer looking for a deal on wine is Malbec from Argentina. There is a very high price-to-quality ratio.


Overall, both Malbec and Pinot Noir have distinctive qualities and some commonalities. Malbec is a robust red wine with tastes of leather, herbs, spices, and chocolate, whereas Pinot Noir is a light-to-medium-bodied red wine with delicate smells of dark berries.

Depending on the situation and the drinker’s preferences, they both give the consumer intense pleasure; nonetheless, keep in mind that they are two unique and satisfying wines. Both are excellent choices, so your decision should be dependent on which one you think would taste the best or go best with your favorite cuisine.

We hope that the article about the difference between Malbec and Pinot Noir has given readers additional knowledge about both of these kinds of wine.

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