Wine pours photographed on The Culinary Institute of America's New York campus.

Great food and wine go hand in hand, but when the-things-to-know-about-wine are seemingly infinite, it can be difficult (and intimidating!) to choose a wine. In this series, we’ll explore the fundamentals of wine, from grape varietals to tasting, so that you can tackle a wine list with confidence.

Get to Know Malbec

Argentina produces wines from many of the international varietals (Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, for example), and because of the country’s Hispanic and Italian history and culture, winemakers also produce wines made from Italian varietals, such as Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.

But Argentina has captured the hearts and taste buds of wine lovers around the world with one red grape: Malbec. A classic blending grape in Bordeaux, Malbec is the primary varietal of Cahors, a red wine produced in the southwest of France. However, more Malbec is grown in Argentina than anywhere else on the planet.

In Argentina, Malbec is produced as a single varietal wine and also often appears labeled as either Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec or Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on which varietal dominates the wine. These red blends are terrific—full-bodied, balanced, and well structured, all in a tasty nexus of black fruits. But we are even more enthusiastic about single varietal Malbec from Argentina, because it is a unique tasting experience. Argentina’s best

Malbecs are incredibly earthy and powerful, but with a beautiful balance of fruit, acid, and tannins that makes them wonderful accompaniments to a meal. It has been said, only partly in jest, that Argentina really doesn’t have a cuisine; it has beef. Like so many jokes, this one is grounded in reality. Argentines consume more beef per capita than anyone else on the face of the earth, and the quality of the meat from their grass-fed cattle is legendary. We can’t think of too many wines that enhance the flavors, textures, and the aromas of a perfectly prepared beef dish as well as or better than Malbec from Argentina.

As with so many other Argentine wines, you can fi nd Malbec at different price points, but don’t shy away from entry-level wines that cost less than $10, especially if you’re new to the varietal; they can be really enjoyable.