Malbec or cot gave its name to the Cotoïdes family, a group of grape varieties native to the vineyards of southwestern France. It is thus a cousin of tannat or negrette.
According to the ampelographer Pierre Galet, its origins are Burgundian. It was transplanted to the Loire Valley during the Renaissance. In Bordeaux, it represented up to 80% of the vineyards of Blaye and Bourg before the phylloxera. The need for grafting caused it a lot of harm: it became very susceptible to rot and too productive. Only the Causse du Quercy has allowed it to keep its good qualities. Clonal selection has reduced the problem of physiological coulure.
Today, it is the essential grape variety of the Cahors vineyard. It is classified as recommended in many departments of the South-West and Languedoc. It is cultivated but currently not very widespread in the Loire Valley (AOC Touraine and Rosé d'Anjou).