Every now and then we come across a wine – a singular block, or perhaps a distinct barrel – that is so extraordinary, it demands to be set apart from our master blend of Proprietary Red. The wildness, purity and raw intensity of this Malbec called to stand alone in a solo bottling.
Estate grown at the pinnacle of the vineyard, 2,200 feet above Napa Valley and higher than the fog line, this peak is exposed to piercing, unfiltered sunlight. This ‘luminosity’ is critical to developing anthocyanins, the pigment responsible for the wine’s deep, opaque purple color. Cold winds from the San Francisco Bay whip across these two blocks planted with the only known cuttings from Dominus vineyard. Here, the “rock outcrop” volcanic soils are so nutrient poor that the fifteen-year-old vines are stunted and thin-trunked, remincient of bonsai trees.
Deep and dark to the core with a thick, plum-colored rim. Aromas of boysenberry coulis, sweet plum and vanilla bean lead into a juicy palate of ripe blackberry and blueberry. Notes of young tobacco, fresh leather and savory meat are balanced by a juicy light acidity, while fine, powdery tannins frame a medium finish.
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Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2014
Even better than it was in barrel, the 2012 Malbec bursts from the glass with notable intensity, power and richness. Dark red cherry, plum, spice and licorice notes are all very much alive in a racy wine endowed with serious depth and extraordinary purity of fruit.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, October 2014
Sensational, one of the best Malbecs I’ve ever tasted from Napa. Black as a moonless night, shows black raspberry, blueberry, licorice and incense. It’s really great and special.
- Kale Anderson
- May 9, 2014
- May 4, 2016
An unusually succulent grape with black skins and bright green pulp, we saignée, or bleed off, 20% of the juice. A significant sacrifice, but necessary to achieve the desired concentration of color and flavor.
To ensure both power and finesse, we whole-berry fermented the wine in new French-oak puncheons (500L) from Taransaud, Sylvain, Seguin Moreau, and Cadus. We gently rotated these oversized barrels for optimal extraction. After press, we returned the wine to the puncheons for another 19 months of aging. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.