2014 Reserve Malbec 750ml
90 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Vineyard: Our 2014 Reserve Malbec is the second vintage of our AV Estate program—grown, vinted, aged and bottled on our Red Ranch in Alexander Valley. After farming a small test plot of Malbec for several years, in 2010 we planted a 10 acre block of Malbec (clone 9 on 101-14 rootstock). Prior to developing the block, we dug 30 pits to evaluate the soil profile: vigor potential, effective rooting zone, and water table depth. Ultimately, we planted 12,512 vines; varying vine spacing and irrigation output to correlate with the varying soil profiles throughout the block.
Vintage 2014: The 2014 growing season was very dry and early. Despite the early bud break and bloom there were few spring frost events. The peak summer months were warm and moderate, so disease pressure was low, ripening was even and color and flavor development phenomenal. The Estate Malbec was harvested on September 20, at 25.0 o Brix.
Winemaking: We hand-harvested in the cool hours from midnight to sunrise. The grapes were sorted, destemmed and crushed to stainless steel fermentation tanks. Pressing was done “to taste,” based on daily tastings of the wines after pumpover. The newly pressed wines were racked to tank and allowed to settle before barreling. The Reserve Estate Malbec was aged in 100% new 60 gallon French and Hungarian oak barrels for 18 months. Primary coopers were Boutes and Trust.
Reserve Status: We normally use the cuvee method to select the finest lots for the Reserve blends. With this estate Malbec there was no such option. I picked the best part of vineyard at the ultimate ripeness, crushed it with our new state of the art equipment at our AV winery and personally coaxed every bit of quality from the grapes. By grace and effort it ended up being our favorite lot of Malbec.
Tasting Notes: A crimson purple in color, our Reserve Malbec bursts with aromas of Clove, red cherry, chocolate nib, teak and leather. Flavors are of berry, molasses, pluots and toast. Texturally, the wine is ultra-fine, with a juicy, frictionless aspect to its long, polished finish.
Variety: 100% Malbec
Avg. Brix at Harvest: 25.0
Malolactic Fermentation: 100%
Length/Type of Aging: 18 months
Barrels: 100% New French and Hungarian Oak Barrels.