2016 Martin Ray Forchini Vineyard DCV Malbec
After sheer luck and happenstance landed us the opportunity to work with some outstanding Bordeaux varietals from a family owned vineyard in Dry Creek Valley during the previous year's vintage, we leapt at the offer of purchasing the grapes again in lieu of another spectacular growing season. Grown on the gravelly eastern slopes of the valley, sharing the ranch with century-old Zinfandel vines, our small allotment of Malbec sits in full sun, late into the summer evenings, giving it the perfect climate to develop its intense, dark color and rich fruit flavor.
Much to the delight of both grape growers and winemakers, the 2016 vintage carried through from beginning to end, with ideal conditions and ideal results. Long-awaited rainfall during the winter and early spring replenished desperate reservoirs and ground water, easing the concerns generated by several years’ worth of drought conditions. The summer was kind, with only a few heat spikes, which then carried over into a true Indian Summer; keeping daytime temperatures above normal, and the mornings foggy and cool throughout the peak month of September, permitting us to take our time in evaluating and calling picks at their optimal maturity. Nature patiently waited for us to bring in our final
lots before returning with the rain that has traditionally been the signal for the end of the harvest season.
Due to the small amount of fruit we receive, we ferment the lot in larger than standard French oak barrels with the heads removed to act as small, ½ ton open-top fermenters. The puncheons are punched down by hand three times daily during fermentation, then allowed to rest, with minimal cap management for up to three weeks to fully extract the aromatics, flavors and tannins the fruit has to offer. We then gently basket press the lot as a whole and move the wine to 40% new French oak chosen for its nuanced impact to age for 14 months.
This wine is eager to please with a bold, fruit-forward nose of flaky blueberry cobbler, summer blackberries, ripe plums and aromatic cherry blossoms. The well-integrated and unobtrusive base of French oak supports this wine with a base of butterscotch and brown sugar. The soft, resolved tannins make this a great wine on its own, as well as an effortless match for food pairings.