2015 Malbec, Napa Valley
96 Points - The Tasting Panel Magazine, Publishers Picks, Jan/Feb 2020
A luxurious, silky red that surpasses expectations for this variety. Its mountain home on Stagecoach Vineyard equates to top real estate, borne from dark red dirt, with high clay and iron content. Bright, meaty, blood-iron aromas and black cherry emanate from the glass. Dark chocolate melts into a café latte. A juiciness squeezes through spice and oak, finishing in a wash of black fruit.
2015, the third vintage in a drought cycle, was a dream vintage, with quality along the lines of 2013 and 2014. A warm, dry winter caused the vines to awaken very early. Substantial rains in late February and early March relieved most of the stress and set up the vines for a vigorous start, which was followed by continued dry conditions throughout the growing season. The summer weather was perfect for the grapes, with no heat spikes or sudden temperature swings. Harvest began two or three weeks earlier than 2013 and produced outstanding fruit, dark in color, with intense aromatics, that ripened while maintaining excellent acidity. Stagecoach Vineyard has over 600 acres planted to vines and is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Napa Valley. Located in the Atlas Peak appellation, the vineyard features steep hillsides and mountain-top geography, some of the rockiest soil in the Napa Valley, resulting in unique and intense flavors.
Arriving in small picking lugs from the vineyards, the clusters were hand sorted, de-stemmed and hand sorted again, berry by berry. A two day cold soak was followed by primary fermentation in small, open-top stainless steel tanks. Following an extended maceration, the fruit was gently pressed and the wine moved to barrel for secondary fermentation. The wine was aged for 19 months in rare 100% New French Artisan Oak barrels with minimal racking. Multiple, blending trials, determined the final blend, which was bottled unfined and unfiltered.