Americans have fallen for Malbec's plush, fruit flavors of boysenberry and blackberry and its vibrant acidity, making it one of the fastest-growing varietal wines in the U.S. If Malbec has made its way into your lineup of favorite reds, fasten your seatbelt.
A stellar growing season, low yields and the use of small tanks have combined to create this muscular Malbec that easily lives up to all you'd expect from the new "it" wine. Fantastically rich purple-black in color, it opens with aromas of violets, leading to layers of black cherry, hazelnuts and white chocolate in the mouth. This wine can comfortably age for 15 years.
Silver, 2010 World Wine Championships:
Tucked along the Pacific Coast, north of Napa Valley, in a pastoral region populated by redwoods as well as vineyards, Mendocino County has become a Mecca for winemakers looking to branch out. The region is known as a place where organic viticulture and sustainable agriculture were pioneered. It's also drawing those looking to experiment with little-known Mediterranean varieties, giving it a reputation for producing wines that are literally all over the map.
Given the area's eclectic reputation, it makes perfect sense that we would find the fruit for our San Valencia Reserve Malbec here. The climactic and geographical diversity of Mendocino County allows the region to produce a wide range of wine grapes. Chardonnay is the county's leading grape variety, but Malbec has the ability to thrive equally well in the region's vineyards, if grown for low yield and high quality.
The cost-effective Mendocino County fruit for this selection, created by Shahin Shahabi, Dennis Patton and Jon Alexander-Hills, hails from one of the best vineyard sites in Sanel Valley. Here, the "Reserve" on the label is not just a legal marketing term. We culled this lot out of a somewhat larger production that retails for almost $30 per bottle.