Friday, November 16, 2012

Big Red Revelry = Malbec & Merlot exposed!

Our 2009 Malbec and 2009 Merlot make the Oregon Wine Press Big Red Revelry article this month.

Oregon’s take on Bordeaux makes great impression on panel France’s famed Bordeaux region is recognized worldwide for a family of winegrapes that produce some of the greatest wines the world has ever known. Jointly referred to as the Bordeaux or Bordelaise varietals, they are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are by far the most widely planted in Bordeaux. Likewise in the U.S., the three have been universally embraced by winemakers, primarily as singly bottled varietals.

In Oregon, these late ripening varieties are planted primarily in the Rogue and Umpqua valleys. As of 2011, total acreages were Cabernet Sauvignon, 640, Merlot, 460, and Cabernet Franc, 120 acres. The varieties also thrive in Washington’s Columbia and Yakima valley AVAs as well as the Walla Walla Valley AVA, which is shared by Oregon and Washington.

Abacela 2009 Merlot, Southern Oregon A drinker that delivers now yet prefers to be laid away. Well-balanced layers of dry yet fleshy flavors include both red and black fruits, chocolate and herbal notes. $20 (708 cases)

Abacela 2009 Estate Malbec, Umpqua Valley Abacela’s handful of estate acres constitute much of Malbec’s Pacific Northwest plantings. But the results indicate that perhaps there should be more. A sweet, smoky, floral intro persuades while complex flavors led by dark berries and oak convince. Good balance seals the deal. $25 (582 cases)