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 mouthwatering Malbec pairs deliciously with lamb moussaka, beef stew, and eggplant Parmesan with fennel-spiced sausage
Barrel Aging: 20 Months, 100% French oak (50% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Malbec
Production: 450 cases
The rich, inviting aromas and velvety palate of our 2012 Malbec burst with black plum, black cherry, violet, spice, mineral and summer savory herb expression. With its inky color and intense, concentrated flavors, this Malbec shows its provenance—an exceptional, dry-farmed vineyard in Calistoga. Not in the least shy, this is a distinctively varietal Malbec, especially in its show of dark fruit, floral and spice, while the caramel and espresso nuances come from aging in 50 percent new French oak barrels. The flavors are juicy, plush and round, with mouth-coating tannins that carry the dark-fruit flavors through the persistent finish. Although it will cellar well, this wine is immensely enjoyable now, especially paired with boldly flavored foods.
We selectively hand harvested these grapes from one block of the Peppone Vineyard in Calistoga and then brought them to our winery in Rutherford. 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. Malbec, a prized grape variety 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.
The relaxed, high-quality 2012 harvest was a winemaker’s dream. The ideal growing season—well-timed rains, no frost during budbreak, and perfect weather for bloom, berry-set and ripening—was textbook Napa Valley. Long stretches of sunny days coupled with foggy nights gave our 2012 wines exceptionally rich, expressive flavors and impeccable balance. We had no weather pressures, from either pending rains or excessive heat, to rush the harvest. Instead we had the luxury of waiting until the grapes reached absolutely perfect maturity.
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 three gentle rackings to naturally clarify the wine.