Selected from the dry-farmed Peppone Vineyard on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga. Barrel aging married the spices of new French oak with the inherent spiciness of Malbec. Historians believe that the Romans brought Malbec to France around 50 BCE. This rich, complex Malbec pairs especially well with grilled, spice-rubbed flank steak, lamb kebabs with mushrooms, and smoked turkey sausages
Aging: 20 months, 100% French Oak (58% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Malbec
Production: 416 cases
Selected from dry-farmed (non-irrigated) vines, this inky, highly extracted Malbec brims with ripe blueberry, black cherry and opulent fig character. Seductive nuances of violet and mineral meld with a racy hint of smoke and cinnamon-spice from toasted, new French oak barrels. The 2008 vintage gave this wine more grip, texture and muscular tannins midpalate than our 2007 Malbec, while emphasizing its soft, silky entry and long, satisfying finish.
We harvested the grapes for our 2008 Malbec from the Peppone Vineyard in Calistoga and brought them to our winery in Rutherford. Malbec, a prized varietal that was cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years, was nearly abandoned there in the last century because it yields few clusters if bloom occurs under cool, rainy conditions. Some Malbec cuttings made it to dry Calistoga—at the northern end of Napa Valley—where they found ideal conditions for their temperamental personality. This vineyard’s warm mesoclimate and lean, well-drained soils give our Malbec its highly extracted dark-fruit flavors and characteristic floral and spice nuances.
The 2008 growing season presented its fair share of challenges for California’s winemakers, yet this Cabernet Sauvignon proves that Napa Valley was blessed—once again—with many truly remarkable wines. Although spring frosts reduced yields and the temperatures during the growing season vacillated between hot and cold, there were enough ideal days to develop grapes with amazing aromas and flavors and ripe tannins. We hand harvested these perfectly balanced Malbec clusters at dawn in mid-October, when the grapes were still cool from the night.
We gently destemmed the grapes to retain about 60 percent whole berries and then we cold soaked the grapes for three days for gentle extraction. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks was followed first by extended maceration before pressing and then by in-barrel malolactic fermentation. During barrel aging, we used the traditional Bordeaux technique of four gentle rackings to naturally clarify the wine.