Best Washington Malbec

James Lee
• Monday, 18 January, 2021
• 7 min read

Originally one of the primary Bordeaux varietals (and still a mainstay in the Cars region of France), the grape lost favor in France in the 1950s and 60s due to its sensitive nature to things like frost and mildew. Before that happened; however, Male was introduced into Argentina by a French agriculturist in 1868.

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It maintained a relatively nondescript existence there until the 1990s when it exploded in popularity with Argentina now accounting for 75% of the entire world's acreage of this variety. Ranging in style from relatively simple, cheap wines meant to be drunk young to those with significant staying power (and time in oak), there's plenty to explore in this extremely popular variety.

While Argentina still dominates, plantings are growing all over the world with lots of good inexpensive Male being made in California and Chile and even more unexpected places like New Zealand. We think Male could be the next big variety in Washington behind its excellent Merlot.

Two organic boxed wines with tiny price tags, the Natural Origins Male and Natural Origins Cabernet Sauvignon from Domain … It won't blow your socks off but the Costco Kirkland Signature Male is worth the tiny price tag.

Kenneth Wrestling: I would recommend a bottle of Male, specifically the “Simona Concert Estate” from Argentina. If you're not in the mood for wine, I would then suggest the Avery IPA, one of my personal favorites.

Susan Bailey: OMG the food is fabulous- the brunch on weekends excellent too! Rob Heyday: House label male is actually pretty good.

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The salad bar is great, but focus your efforts on the meat. The popovers rock and the bacon clothesline is the best appetizer.

Mike Clark: get the fire & smoke pizza with Nate's saves insanity sauce... Maggie Mac: The burger here is soon good (comes with fries) and is very shareable.

Rankin Roll: The Milkshake (consisting of vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter) and the salmon is best done here Rachel Wang Pang: The house special appetizer filet with Xavier was very delicious.

Joanna Champagne: This is a world-class restaurant on a street that is all boarded up. Upstairs is a lovely bar, perfect for a romantic date or catching up.

Abdullah Alaska: Atmosphere, service and food were awesome. Bitches Who Brunch: For sweeping views and cocktails combined with historical relevance, the Top of the Gate is certainly a D.C. staple worth visiting once.

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(Source: americasquarterly.org)

The drinks and small plates are overpriced but still taste good. Laurenellen McCann: Hidden gem a stone's throw from Howard: Great, creative selection of vegan and vegetarian friendly options.

With their 2017 vintage, production director Rick Small and winemaker Kevin Mott have added to that legacy with a brilliant Chard sourced from their usual two sites: Cello Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, and their own Woodward Canyon estate vineyard in the Wall Wall Valley. Not so for winemaker Michael Savage, whose Cello Chard is a fine value, offering nervy acidity and a dry flavor profile that combines lemon curd, mineral and subtle spice notes.

Whether the wine’s insistent generality comes from those rocks or is inherent to the grapes seems not to matter once it’s in the glass. Pink debuted with the 2015 vintage, and in four short years has captured the imagination of Satellites and become one of the fuzziest roses released each spring.

The fruit purity is exceptional here (strawberries and raspberries abound), and the texture is seamless and polished. Vintners 2015 Rhone Blend Brushed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, $40 Winemaker Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen splits his time between W.T.

Here he has crafted a blend of about one-third each of Grenade, Sarah and Mourned, all from a single hillside of Brushed Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This beautifully balances elements both fruity (blackberry) and savory (smoky bacon, briny olive), all on a supple, easy-drinking frame.

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Fermented with 50% whole clusters (stems and all) and then aged in a mix of large puncheons and small barrels, this wine revels in the funky, savory side of Sarah, with meaty smoked sausages and brackish seaweed complementing a core of blueberry fruit. It’s a pan- Washington Sarah, featuring seven different vineyards across five of Washington’s Ava, and it features a core of marionberry fruit lifted by floral top notes and complicated by savory threads of bacon fat and sanguine generality.

Vintners 2015 Gorgeous Sarah, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, $30 The blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged entirely in new French oak, and it offers an appealing nose combining plummy fruit with dusty earth notes, mocha and rosemary.

Dark fruits (plums, huckleberries) commingle with high-cacao chocolate in this delightful truffle of a wine. This Merlot includes 13% Cabernet Franc, and all the grapes come from Stillwater Creek Vineyard.

Aged in French oak (60% new) for just shy of two years, this wine displays a pair of the characteristics that make Washington Merlot so compelling: complexity (in the form of earth and tomato-paste savory notes overlaying a core of cherry fruit) and structure (in the form of toothsome finishing tannins). The BEST OTHER RED BLENDS Underground Wine Project 2015 Idle Hands Red Mountain, $30 Trey Busch and Mark McNally’s Underground Wine Project takes home a second prize this year (their Mr.

That new American oak adds appealing notes of vanilla bean and cocoa powder to a wine bursting with cherry and raspberry richness. Classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis and cedar coexist with subtleties of beetroot and rhubarb, all on a supple, polished frame.

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(Source: www.winemag.com)

BEST SPLURGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Canvasback (by Duck horn) 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain, $40 In 2013, Napa Valley stalwart Duck horn purchased a 20-acre parcel of land on Red Mountain and launched Canvasback, its first foray into Washington state. Industry veteran Brian Ruin is the local winemaker for Canvasback, and this is his first Cab that includes a portion of fruit from the estate vineyard, called Long winds.

In total, this wine includes 13 Red Mountain vineyards, so it is a fine representative of the AVA as a whole, offering chewy, black-tea-flavored tannins aplenty as structural underpinnings for a wine bursting with black currant fruit and rose petal nuance. BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION CABERNET SAUVIGNON Passing Time 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, $80 Washington native Damon Hard partnered with fellow quarterback Dan Marino to launch Woodinville-based Passing Time four years ago with the 2012 vintage.

Their winemaker from the beginning has been Chris Peterson (Ravenna), and he works wonders with this Cabernet, primarily from a pair of special Horse Heaven Hills sites: Campus and Discovery. The wine sees 21 months in French oak (80% new) and offers wonderful pencil-lead generality to complement a core of black currant fruit and smoky baking spice.

Nominees that received the most votes in the categories of wineries, winemaker, vineyard and homelier were selected as winners. The approximately 90 wines receiving the most votes in the varietal categories qualified as finalists for a blind tasting held on March 18.

That tasting was conducted by a panel of three industry professionals (Paul Literally of Full Pull Wines, Mark Sakai of Metropolitan Market and Chris Horn of Heavy Restaurant Group) who evaluated the wines on the basis of appeal in regard to sight, smell and taste in order to come to a consensus on the winners within each category. Also, a minimum of 95% of the grapes used in the production of the wine must be from a vineyard located within Washington state, or from one of the three federally recognized interstate Ava that include acreage in Washington state (Columbia Valley, Wall Wall Valley and the Columbia Gorge Ava).

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(Source: www.onlyinyourstate.com)

Winners in categories involving people, places and wine experiences also must be located in Washington. For a varietal to be considered in its category, it must be made with at least 75% of the grape variety that is grown in Washington state.

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