As I continue to take an occasional look at Malbec this spring it’s time to shift away from Argentina for a moment. There’s no question that Malbec really thrives there and many fine examples exist. However you can usually find a little bit of Malbec wherever Cabernet Sauvignon and the other Bordeaux varietals are grown. The trouble is outside of Argentina not many folks are bottling it as a single varietal. It’s too bad because the ones crafted with care often make for interesting wines. Today I’ll look at a current release of California Malbec from Alexander Valley’s deLorimer Winery. The deLorimer Winery 2006 Malbec was produced from fruit sourced in Alexander Valley. The vineyard site sits more than 300 feet above sea level and it was planted in 1985. This offering is 100% Malbec. Fruit was handpicked and barrel aging took place in French oak over a period of 30 months. 400 cases of this Malbec were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $24.
The unmistakable deep, dark hue of Malbec is immediately striking. Black mission fig aromas lead the nose of this wine and are joined by little bits of vanilla bean and toasty oak. Rich, ripe, dark berry fruit is present in copious quantities throughout the palate. Black pepper and nutmeg play key roles as well. Rhubarb, cranberry and earth all emerge on the finish which shows significant length. This Malbec has firm tannins and excellent acidity.
This wine is pretty nice on its own, but it’s really primed to pair with food. Roasted meats will work particularly well. This is a really well balanced wine that will age gracefully over the next 6-8 years. That said it’s delicious now and there’s no particular reason to wait on this one. It may not be from Argentina, but it is a very fine example of Malbec.