2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec
94 pts, James Suckling
While we are primarily focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, our love affair with Bordeaux varietals led us to plant the remaining four 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 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec has a nose filled with Christmas spice and floral perfume. The intense palate bursts with flavors of dark roasted coffee, violets, black plum, and pastry crust. The mouthfeel is vibrant and lush with a rich tannin structure that peaks and then softly resolves on the finish.
2019 offered nearly ideal growing conditions: a warm spring with some later rainfall set us up for good early season growth which was followed by a moderately warm summer that lasted well into October without any severe temperatures or untimely rainfall. These conditions allowed for a classic vintage. We picked over the course of a week late into October to allow a range of sugar development in the grapes which gave us flexibility in the winery to create a wine with many layers of lush flavors.