2017 Secret Ingredient Malbec
While we are primarily focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, our love affair with Bordeaux varietals led us to plant the remaining 4 classic Bordeaux blending grapes including Malbec. In 2010 we harvested our first Malbec from Bell Mountain Ranch. Although we only had enough to fill one barrel, it was our favorite wine that year. Continuing our tradition of experimentation, we used a little of the Malbec to add to our other blends, and we marveled that it miraculously made everything better. It became our “secret ingredient”. When we finally had enough Malbec to make into its own bottling, we knew we had the perfect name – Secret Ingredient.
The 2017 Secret Ingredient Malbec shows a deep inky purple color we love to see on Malbec. We find aromas of white flower with hints of white pepper, red berries and orange peel along with freshly mowed hay. On the palate the wine has rich red fruit notes while the smooth tannins blend with juicy acidity to harmoniously resolve into a long beautiful finish.
2017 was a year of extremes. The winter gave us twice our normal rainfall ending a five-year drought. The summer then came on with more scorchers than we care to count (16 days over 100 degrees!) The season ended with the most devastating fire in California’s history. We hope to never see a year like this one again. Despite the challenging growing conditions, the extremes ripened the grapes in magical ways allowing us to make some of our greatest wines – bright, aromatic whites and rosé plus supple, concentrated reds. As with everything in winemaking (and with farming in general), timing was key. Knowing when to pick (and being lucky!) made all the difference.