If you like big fruit and body, Malbec is a good wine for you! While 75% of the world’s Malbec may come from Argentina, the grape originated in the South West of France around Cahors. Malbec is a great fit for Eastern Washington’s dry and hot climate, particularly in the hottest AVA - the Wahluke Slope where StoneTree Vineyard is located. Here it can fully express its potential with supple and ripe tannins combined with ample fruit aromas.
StoneTree Vineyard is located in the Wahluke Slope, right up against the south side of the Saddle Mountains. The name comes from the petrified wood that can be found around the vineyard. We really enjoy this site because of the higher degree days that are accumulated; this is why Wahluke Slope fruit is one of the first to come in.
The 2016 growing season was warmer than normal for Washington State, with January through August ranking as the warmest on record. Although harvest was early, the rhythm of incoming grapes was nicely spread out and we had ample time to ferment both whites and reds, without feeling much of a crunch. Harvesting our whites earlier allowed us to retain freshness, lively flavors and acidity while we patiently waited for the reds to pack up flavors, complexity, and power through longer hang time. The StoneTree Malbec came in on September 24 with very ripe and fruit forward characteristics. It had a beautiful color extraction off of the first day. Every pump-over created more intensity and depth, which is where this wine truly flourishes.
Many of the basic Malbec wines you find are made with little to no oak aging; this produces a juicy style. We age ours in oak, like the higher-end Malbecs of the world, which creates a refined, balanced, and more complex profile. We use 2/3 neutral oak because we want the oak to enhance, not cover or compete with the fruit flavor; the 1/3 new oak contributes lively spice to the finished wine.
Medium-bodied, bold, spicy, rich and balanced with polished tannins.
NOSE: coffee, dark cocoa, violets, ripe plum, fig
MOUTH: medium-soft mouthfeel, chocolate, plum, blueberry, baking spice
FOOD & WINE PAIRING: polenta with sautéed mushrooms and fresh herbs