If I were to choose a wine for its color, I would pick a Malbec. It has such a succulent deep rich color, with dark fruit and spice to complete the dance on your palate...it tantalizes my taste buds. It's not the most popular; however there are more great Malbecs becoming available.
The Malbec grape truly comes into its own in Argentina, where Malbec is the major red variety planted and is most often bottled as a singe varietal. Argentina might have claimed this grape but it originated in the Southwest of France, however Eastern Washington is producing beautiful Malbecs with intense fruit and subtle spice. Malbec is a spicy wine reminiscent of blackberries and chocolate, with an enticing aroma and velvety texture. Malbecs are also used in small amounts as a blending grape, such as in Bordeaux blends to add color and to smooth the tannins of the other wines in the blend.
One winery you have to be sure to put on your agenda when visiting Walla Walla is Flying Trout Wines located in Milton Freewater Oregon, partnered with Tero Estates. Wine maker Ashley Trout makes a fantastic 100% Malbec with beautiful color, flavor and long finish. I first fell in love with their 2009 Old Vines Malbec, with intoxicating black fruit aroma which hits full and ripe with a long, lingering lush finish. Marys Block Malbec also a 100% Malbec which has soft black fruit forward with a smooth spice finish, this has layers of subletieties that are very impressive. Flying Trout/Tero Estates winery is worth the visit just for the view you get when you make the climb up the stairs to their roof top patio with your glass of wine, you feel in that moment, all of your senses come alive.
Domingo Finco 2011 Malbec, they call themselves “undiscovered high altitude wines” from Argentina. The 6400’ altitude microclimate and the unique soil from the region of Salta, results in a wine you need to try for yourself. These factors create an impressive intense color and is extremely well balanced on the palate with a long sultry smooth finish. It avoids all the hurdles as it transitions from nose, to palette, to finish.
Pondera Winery’s 2009 Stillwater creek Malbec is 92 % Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot make this Malbec rich but balanced with a heavenly finish. This Malbec won the 2012 Double Gold Award at the Seattle Wine Awards. Pondera has a tasting room in Woodinville.
The intense character of Malbec is smoothed out with the Columbia Valley 2009 Sailor Malbec produced by Wachtler Winery. This is a lovely Malbec with aroma that carries nicely to the palate with spice and a finish that makes a captivating bottle.
Ash Hallow, Walla Walla 2009 Malbec possesses a dark berry color created by a riveting meld of dark fruit and texture of the Walla Walla Valley. A clean and notable Malbec, which is a beautifully realized effort.
Try a Malbec with some roasted or grilled beef, a cheese plate with aged or herbed sheep cheese…it’s all good!