Saracina Vineyards Malbec ($29.99)
Mendocino County, California
From the producer:
"Vineyards and Harvest Planted in 1999 and farmed organically from the outset, Skid Row Vineyard is the westernmost block on the Saracina Ranch, marked by black clay and gravelly soils at the base of the foothills. The plant material is the original Bordeaux clone 4. It is significant not for what it produces, but for what it doesn’t. It is the lowest yielding commercial Malbec clone available, and on our property typical yields are one and a half tons per acre. It produces concentrated fruit without the need to pick at ultra-high sugars.
The vineyard was named “Skid Row” for the tracks carved into the surrounding hillsides in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by donkeys dragging logs down to the vineyard site, where they were collected to fire the furnaces for hop barns in the course of making beer.
The harvest of 2016 was a winemaker’s dream, following replenishing, drought-ending rains and a long and even growing season.
Winemaking and Cooperage:
The grapes were harvested by hand, destemmed and gently fed into the fermenter with 50% whole berries. Native yeast fermentation began in earnest eight days later and was managed with two aerative pumpovers per day until dryness. The wine was drained directly into Taransaud barrels, 15% of which were new. Native malolactic fermentation was complete by early January. The wine rested on light lees for 19 months and was bottled on May 23, 2018.
Winemaker Alex MacGregor’s Comments:
ltra-deep garnet in color, this lovely California rendition of Malbec reveals black plum and blueberry fruits with a cedar note in the background. The palate is polished, with round tannins and great depth of flavor. Pair this wine year-round with a grilled peppery soy balsamic marinated steak and grilled portabella mushrooms."
This wine is outstanding. Most people think of Argentina when they think of Malbec, though the grape is originally French. Mendocino is a slightly cooler climate than its more famous California counterparts, but the low yield of this clone produces a rich flavor without high alcohol. This comes in at 13.5%, but the palate is bold and satisfying. I highly recommend this for people who love Malbecs and Cabs.