2013 Malk Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District
Wine Advocate 94
Retail $80 BOFW $77.00
Malk Vineyards is exactly the kind of wine that we like to discover and present to our customers. High quality, low quantity and virtually unheard of in most circles. Now add in great fruit from the Stags Leap AVA, family owned and an outstanding review from the Wine Advocate (WA) and you have the perfect wine for our Entrepreneur Circle members. So here is the story on how it came to be in your shipment this month and the long wait (for BOFW anyway). Clear back in February, while attending Premiere Napa Valley, there was one last tasting on Saturday evening after the famous auction. My business partner (aka wife!) was tired and said she was going to pass on this last tasting. But I had seen the lineup; it was a spotlight on Stags Leap wines and was held at Pine Ridge Vineyards. While I have had their wines, I had never been to the winery, so I was “all in”. Not to digress too much, but if you haven’t tasted Pine Ridge Vineyards recently, you should give them a try, their recent vintages are outstanding. We carry their flagship Fortis and their more available and economical Napa Valley bottling.
It was this final Saturday tasting that presented us oops just me, the opportunity to try the 2011 and 2012 vintages of Malk Vineyards Cabernet and found them to be very enjoyable. The ’11 wasn’t reviewed but truth be told the ’11 was showing better than the ‘12 at that point and may continue to do so. The ’12 received a respectable 91 points from WA, but once back home, with some further research, I learned that the ‘13 had already been tasted and had garnered 94 points from WA. I knew I had to “bring it home”, for me and our club members. I reached out to the representative who poured at the tasting. I was quickly referred to none other than the proprietor/owner, Brian Malk. Brian was happy to hear that I was interested in his wines and offered me either the 2011 or ’12, but would not release the ’13 until late Fall, even for the volume I was buying for the club. We spoke off/on for the better part of the year trying to secure the ’13, but they would not release early. Finally, in late November I (and my business partner :)) was afforded the chance to visit Malk Vineyards and taste all of their wines.
We couldn’t agree more with the review and rating, but this does require a little bit of a setup. It was a 10:00am tasting, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We were still a little full, had a little over an hour drive to Napa and we were not overly thrilled to be drinking any wine so early. But what the hell, we owed it to all of you. After all,we are professionals and we know how to use a dump bucket! The 2012 Cabernet was definitely smoother and more polished that morning. The 2013 offers more complexity and fuller fruits but the tannins definitely were not as integrated or refined yet. Tasting it sans food, I would definitely suggest letting it rest another year or more. But with a nice marbled Rib-Eye or Roast Pork with a concentrated marinade or sauce, this would be fine to serve this month if desired. One advantage to the latter method, it gives you the chance to see if you like it enough to order more to put away for a while. Either way, we hope you enjoy this bottle as much as we enjoyed sourcing it for you!
Wine Advocate Notes:
“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon has slightly more opaque purple color than the 2012, beautiful bluer-fruit characteristics, with black raspberries, blueberries, slightly more concentration and greater raw materials. Nevertheless, it’s full-bodied and capable of 15 or more years of aging potential with its terrific purity and symmetry. This is a sleeper producer, and I’m happy to have tasted them. Both wines tip the scales at 14.5% alcohol.” – Robert Parker
2014 Fattoria dei Barbi
Wine Advocate 92
Retail $55 BOFW $52.00
Now we’re taking you to the Old World, Italy to be more specific. It’s been a couple years since we’ve included an Italian wine and this time of year is perfect for a full bodied red to pair with winter meals. Not quite a polar opposite from Malk, but Fattoria dei Barbi is a much larger producer and quite well known in Italy and around the world. They produce many Italian varietals including the highly age-worthy and collectible Brunello di Montalcino. One of the reasons we share Old World red wines infrequently is because we find it difficult to source an approachable Old World wine. But you’ll note in Monica Larner’s tasting notes, her focus on current drinkability with over 5 years of age and a full year into the suggested drinking window of this Brunello.
We did an initial tasting by itself, but later paired it with a rich Pasta Bolognese. For our vegetarian friends, this would also pair nicely with a robust Eggplant Parmigiana or a vegetarian lasagna.
Wine Advocate review:
“The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a steady and pleasing effort that shows dark fruit layers packed tight with spice and tobacco. Like many of the wines this vintage, Fattoria dei Barbi’s newest release is immediate and approachable. You can drink it now or wait a few years longer. It tastes just great now with soft fruit layers and generous servings of black cherry and plum. It shows a dense texture with sweet tannins on the close.”
– Monica Larner
Monica Larner Trivia
I was a little verbose relaying our Malk experience, so I left little room for a recipe or other lengthy article. Here’s a little fact about Monica that you may not know. Monica is Wine Advocate’s lead taster for Italy, but she has literal “roots” less than 100 miles from Bent On Fine Wine. When Steven Larner, Monica’s father decided to retire from his role as Directory of Photography (Roots, Badlands, Caddyshack….) he bought 134 acres in Ballard Canyon, CA to pursue his lifelong dream of making wine under the Larner name. Monica helped select clones, plant cordons, etc. Today, Larner makes their own wine and Larner fruit is sought out by quality producers like Jaffurs and Stolpman.
Welcome new members, Chuck from the “Peach State” and Ken, Leslie, Dave and Ceceila all from our own “Golden State”, California. As always, we thank you for your membership and we wish you a healthy, prosperous New Year!
Bent On Fine Wine!
December Shipment Invoice
2012 Malk Vineyards $77.00
2014 Fattoria dei Barbi $52.00
CA Sales Tax $0