2015 Reserve Malbec 750ml
Vineyard: Our 2015 Reserve Malbec is the third 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 2015: The 2015 growing season was once again dry and odd. Late winter and early spring were hot. Late spring was cool and fruit set was poor. The peak summer months were moderate, resulting in steady ripening and good acid retention. Late summer heat pushed sugar accumulation because of the small crop. The grapes for the Estate Malbec was harvested on September 16, and 25, at an average of 26.0 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 oak barrels for 20 months. Primary coopers were Treuil, Remond and Boutes.
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. In 2015 I also selected a small block of Cab to ferment on the AV Estate. This offered some blending options, but the Malbec was once again so impressive we only used a small amount of Cab.
Tasting Notes: Mulberry-purple in the glass, our Estate Malbec offers intense aromas of blueberry, coconut milk, cloves, and cocoa. Flavors are of plum, dried blueberry and vanilla. Texturally it is rich, sleek and long with nice weight and kid-glove tannins. (Tasted 3-2-18)
Variety: 95% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Date: September 16 & 25, 2015
Avg. Brix at Harvest 26.0o
Malolactic fermentation: 100% of blend
Length/Type of Aging: 20 months in 60 gallon 100% new French oak barrels. Treuil, Remond and Boutes cooperages.
Bottling Date: June 13, 2017