The upcoming release of our 2013 Malbec opens a new chapter in our effort to move closer to only making wines produced from grapes grown in the Red Mountain AVA. In years past we have been able to source Malbec from a wide range of sources from throughout he Columbia Valley. 2013 will be our inaugural Red Mountain release and I think you will see a notable change from our previous style.
Don’t get me wrong, I like our previous Malbecs from the Columbia Valley but I think you will see a change that will be a reflection of Red Mountain. What is that change, you ask? Our previous vintages of Columbia Valley Malbec go back to the 2004 vintage. I remember getting a little bit of fruit in to play around with and to see if it would work in our Optu blend. Optu is a blend we have made from every vintage going back to 2000. I liked it so much that we decided to do a small bottling from that vintage of 96 cases. I had worked with some of the first plantings of Malbec in Washington when I was the winemaker at Chateau Ste Michelle from 1990 to 1998. That fruit came off of Canoe Ridge Estate, planted in 1993, near Paterson and I knew it could add a new layer to the wines we were making. One of the noticeable characteristics of most Malbec is an inherent peppery or spice component. This has been a common component throughout our Malbec from 2004 to 2012.
The 2013 Malbec – Red Mountain is different from any Malbec we have made previously. The biggest change to me initially is the great concentration of the wine. This is common amongst Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot. Malbec is no different. When I say concentration it is true reflection of tannin and fruit balance. You will see this in a lot of Fidelitas Red Mountain wines. For me another characteristic that is less noticeable is the peppery, spice flavor on the palate. It is still there but not nearly as noticeable as previous vintages.
The 2013 Red Mountain Malbec comes from three different vineyards, those being Scooteney Flats – 54%, Kiona – 29% & The Canyons – 17%. These are three well established vineyards on Red Mountain.
For Fidelitas I would compare 2012 & 2103 on the same level. I know most media and trade have put 2012 up as one of the best vintages ever in Washington but I would put 2013 right up there with 2012 for what we are doing. Enjoy the latest chapter!
read more from Charlie on his blog, Red Mountain Rising.