Shiraz vs Malbec

Shiraz vs Malbec - infographic

When it comes to red wines, many can taste similar unless you know what you’re looking for, like Syrah vs Malbec.

Shiraz has a bolder body and robust flavors of dark fruits and black pepper compared to Malbec. Malbec offers a medium to full body, rich flavor, and a softer texture. You can find decent Malbec and Shiraz for around $15-$20 USD.

Comparing Shiraz vs Malbec gives an opportunity for new red wine enthusiasts to compare and appreciate their distinct flavor profiles, origins, and characteristics.

Shiraz Basics: A Powerful Red

what's syrah wine taste like infographic - malbec vs shiraz

Shiraz, or Syrah as it’s more commonly called, comes from France, has gained international popularity due to its bold and versatile nature. Today, Shiraz is the name used for this wine in Australia. It’s the country’s signature red wine grape.

Syrah presents a robust flavor profile with intense black fruit notes and a hint of spice. It is renowned for its bold body, offering a powerful and complex drinking experience. (Here’s a deep dive into Syrah wines.)

Being one of the world’s top exporters of wines, you’ll find entry level Shiraz and higher-end Shiraz from Australia in most wine markets.

Let price be your guide.

Helpful Tip: If you’re new to wine tasting, here’s a quick guide to help you navigate unfamiliar wines.

Malbec Basics: Argentine Elegance

malbec wine infographic - syrah vs malbec wine

Malbec, a true Argentine wine, offers an accessible red wine for all tables.

With origins in France, it found its true home in Argentina. Malbec showcases a distinct character with bold fruit flavors and a lush mouthfeel. Malbec’s full body and flavors of ripe blackberries and plum pair well with grilled meats and hearty dishes.

Malbec is known for its medium to full body, providing a substantial weight on the palate. Its flavor profile includes dark fruits, cocoa, and sometimes a hint of vanilla, reflecting its unique terroir.

Fun Wine Fact: Malbec gained significant popularity when it was introduced to Argentina in the 19th century. Today, Malbec has gained recognition beyond its Argentine origins, with vineyards in regions such as France, the United States, and Australia.

Wine Comparison: Shiraz vs. Malbec

Here’s a quick side-by-side that covers the most common styles of Syrah and Malbec.

HueDeep purple to blackDeep violet to black
ColorRedRed to purple
AromasDark fruits, black pepper, smokePlum, black cherry, cocoa
TanninsHighMedium to high
Alcohol (%)13.5-15%13-15%
BodyFullMedium to full
IntensityHighMedium to high
Key Growing RegionsRhône Valley, Australia, CaliforniaMendoza, Argentina, Cahors
Classic PairingsGrilled meats, game, spicy dishesSteak, barbecue, roasted meats
Price Range$15-$40$10-$30

Shiraz Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Shiraz is typically produced in a dry style, offering minimal residual sugar.
  • Alcohol: Shiraz wines generally have a moderate to high alcohol content, ranging from around 13% to 15% ABV.
  • Body: Known for its bold body, Shiraz provides a powerful and complex drinking experience.
  • Tannins: Shiraz often has higher tannin levels compared to Malbec, meaning it will taste grippier in your mouth.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Shiraz exhibits robust flavors and aromas, with intense dark fruit notes and hints of spice.
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes blackberry, black pepper, dark chocolate, and sometimes a touch of smoked meat or leather.

Malbec Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Malbec wines lean towards dryness, offering a range of dry to off-dry styles.
  • Alcohol: Malbec wines typically have a moderate to high alcohol content, similar to Syrah, ranging from around 13% to 15% ABV.
  • Body: Malbec is known for its medium to full body.
  • Tannins: Malbec showcases moderate tannin levels.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Malbec boasts intense dark fruit notes and a plush mouthfeel.
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes blackberry, blueberry, plum, cocoa, and sometimes a hint of vanilla.

Helpful Tip: If you’re unsure about serving temperatures, here’s a breakdown of wine serving temperatures for different wine styles and occasions.

Are Shiraz and Malbec Similar?

Both Shiraz and Malbec are rich red wines that have dark fruit flavors. Both wines are often oaked, with mocha, coffee, and chocolate notes. If you like Shiraz or Malbec, you’re likely to enjoy the other wine, too.

What Is the Difference Between Shiraz and Malbec?

Shiraz tends to have a bolder body, compared to Malbec’s medium to full body. Shiraz often exhibits peppery and spicy flavors, while Malbec leans towards ripe dark fruit notes. Additionally, Shiraz has higher tannin levels.

Shiraz vs. Malbec: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

fire on black charcoal grill - syrah vs malbec wine

Shiraz Food Pairing: Shiraz’s bold dark fruit flavors and spice make it a versatile companion for a variety of dishes, including grilled meats, stews, and spicy cuisine.

Malbec Food Pairing: Malbec, with its plush mouthfeel and ripe fruit notes, pairs exceptionally well with grilled steaks, roasted vegetables, and barbecued ribs.

Personal Note: I love both Shiraz and Malbec wines with a spicy barbecue and grilled vegetables.

Both Shiraz and Malbec are best enjoyed at slightly below room temperature. Place them in a cool, dark place for a while before serving.

Which Is More Expensive, Shiraz vs. Malbec?

organized bottles on shelf - Shiraz vs malbec

When comparing the prices of Shiraz and Malbec, it’s natural to wonder about their relative costs.

Shiraz Cost

Entry-level Syrah wines are typically affordable, ranging from $10 to $20 per bottle. If wine affordability is something you’re thinking about, Shiraz is an accessible choice.

Personal Note: You’ll also find extreme value Shiraz wines from Australia under $5 USD. These wines tend to be off-dry and coinfected (tasting a little like candy).

If you are looking for premium Shiraz, there are higher-priced Shiraz wines available. These bottles, priced around $25 to $50 or higher, offer a more complex and nuanced drinking experience.

Helpful Tip: Look for quality Shiraz wines from Australia’s Barossa Valley. Yum!

Malbec Cost

Similar to Shiraz, entry-level Malbec wines also fall within accessible price ranges, usually ranging from $12 to $20 per bottle. These wines are known for their rich fruit flavors that forefront the plush mouthfeel, perfect for casual sipping and pairing.

On the premium side, Malbec will have more intense fruit flavors. You’ll immediately notice just how pronounced they can be. Premium Malbec wines sourced from renowned regions can have wine prices of $25 to $40 or more.

Fun Wine Fact: Premium Malbec from Argentina is often less expensive than premium wines from France thanks to favorable exchange rates and more affordable labor costs during production. Take advantage of this factoid to find outstanding bottles of Malbec wine!

Which Is Better Shiraz or Malbec?

If you enjoy bold, robust red wine with more tannin, Shiraz will be better for you. If you prefer a medium to full-bodied wine with a plush, silky mouthfeel, Malbec is the better choice. If you’re on a budget, Malbec is often less expensive for the quality level.

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Final Thoughts – Malbec or Shiraz?

Both Shiraz and Malbec present delightful red wine options with their own unique characteristics.

I’m a big fan of side-by-side tastings to tease out the different wine characteristics. A great way to get started with these two wines is to do a side-by-side comparison.

Grab 2 bottles of similarly priced Shiraz and Malbec. Invite over a few friends and enjoy an evening of swirling and sipping.

Shiraz showcases a bold and complex nature at a price point that makes the wine a great choice for various occasions. If you’re looking for a silkier, more approachable red wine that’s fruit-forward, then Malbec will be a fun choice.

Thirsty for More?

I’m a big believer in doing side-by-side tastings to boost your wine knowledge. Here’s how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot, another popular red wine, along with Cabernet Sauvignon vs Malbec.

You should be able to find delicious wines at every price point. Check out this post on how to find great wines under $50.

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