The 2015 Napa Valley Malbec is vibrant and lively with dark blackberry, blueberry and black cherry fruit alongside coffee bean and espresso notes. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with raspberry, dark chocolate, cocoa and hints of musky fl oral violet, cinnamon, cedar and clove, followed by black pepper spice on the finish. The depth and complexity of the wine blends together gracefully on the palate with fine well-integrated tannins. This limited bottling drinks as powerfully rich as it smells, but the voluptuous fruit flavors remain incredibly fresh and balanced throughout and are framed well by the refreshing acidity.
The majority of the Malbec grapes for this bottling are sourced from the D’Ambrosio Vineyards from a block called Las Cerezas located just South East from the town of Yountville, which is well suited to growing this regional rarity. Las Cerezas, Spanish for “the cherries” was named after the neighboring Cherry Orchard. The climate here is moderate, with a defi nite cooler maritime infl uence compared to vineyards further up valley. Here the soils are mainly gravelly silt loams, sedimentary in origin and gravelly alluvial soils with rock, moderately fertile. A smaller percentage of Malbec was sourced from Stanton Vineyards’ J.B, Ranch, located in the heart of St. Helena, which helped to round out the balance of the Malbec fruit in this wine.
After three years of plentiful harvests, the 2015 vintage resulted in a less abundant crop, but the quality remained exceptional. The mild, dry spring conditions promoted an early bud-break and minimal heat during summer allowed the fruit to ripen at a steady pace through picking, which began a few days earlier than 2014. The drier-than-normal conditions contributed to the smaller berry size and lower yields, resulting in wines with outstanding concentration and fl avor. Despite all this, the overall 2015 vintage was ideal for producing a Malbec of wonderful quality.
Winemaker Christophe Paubert practiced simple methods to show how this rare variety can excel in Napa Valley. The wine was fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels (approx. 50%) and in stainless steel tanks for 16 months. The usage of stainless steel allowed the wine to broadcast and preserve the purity and freshness of the Malbec fruit.