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2018 Secret Ingredient Malbec

92 pts, James Suckling | 92 pts, Wine Enthusiast | 90 pts, Jeb Dunnuck

2018 Secret Ingredient Malbec
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Member Exclusive | $70

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 2018 Secret Ingredient has a lush nose of blueberry, blackberry, and clove spice. Bright tannins fill the palate that is balanced with elegant acidity and pleasing rich flavors of orange peel, mixed berry, and black cherry. A wine that will continue to evolve into something truly magnificent with patience. 


The winter gave us less rainfall than normal. Almost all of the precipitation came in the early spring, so the vineyard had a full profile of water to start the growing season. We saw good early growth, a few warm periods, but no severe heat spikes. The key ripening period in late summer and early fall was cool and sunny, delaying harvest by a week but allowing full flavor development. We were blessed with a vintage we always dream about: abundant fruit of excellent quality. 

Wine Profile
Alexander Valley
Harvest Date
October 08 – October 29, 2018
24.2°– 24.4°
5.6 g/L
18 months in 25% new French oak and 75% neutral oak
Bottling Date
May 20, 2020
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
450 cases
Varietal Composition
100% Malbec