What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 22
2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec
Years ago, I remember reading an article in a wine magazine that mentioned how sommeliers could always spot an industry person dining in their restaurant: The tell was that they were the ones who were likely to order the Gruner Veltliner or Malbec on the wine list.
In a world where so many people stick to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, these two varietals definitely deserve a whole lot more love.
As someone married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy for his carnivore leanings, Malbec has truly become a favorite in our household.
So, when I received a sample of the 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec ($70), my husband was all too happy to fire up the smoker for a batch of beef ribs to accompany them. And it proved a perfect pairing.
Made with 100 percent Malbec grapes grown organically in the Alexander Valley, this wine is produced by Healdsburg’s Medlock Ames. While the winery primarily focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon, when co-founder Ames Morison harvested his first small planting of Malbec in 2010, he loved it so much that it went on to become a key addition to many of his blends for greater balance. As such, when he finally grew enough to bottle his first Malbec, he knew he had to dub it “Secret Ingredient.”
This smooth, full-bodied wine opens up with loads of dark plum, blackberries, roast coffee, and a touch of anise. It boasts a long, lush finish, too.
Find it on the Medlock Ames site.
Cheers: Planning to serve prime rib this Christmas? This wine would be pure magic with it.
2017 Ovis Lake County Petit Verdot
It says a lot that Lake County’s Shannon Family of Wines received the 2021 California Green Medal Environmental Award from California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
That particular award is given to the winery that best demonstrates environmental stewardship through sustainable practices. The Shannon Family received it for its sustainable, organic and regenerative farming practices through using sheep, chickens, and cows in their vineyards, reducing the need for mowing and using gas-powered weeders. It also makes use of beneficial worms and insects for crop maintenance on its mountainous property.
In tribute to those efforts, they created a collection of wines under the Project Ovis umbrella. “Ovis” is Latin for “sheep,” and these wines honor the fluffy, four-legged ones who help maintain the vineyards.
Among the wines in this collection is the standout 2017 Ovis Lake County Petit Verdot ($60), of which I received a sample.
This late-harvested, thick-skinned grape underwent two years of barrel aging to get a handle on what can often be aggressive tannins. The result is an inky, dark purple wine full of marionberries, bramble, violets, cloves and tons of earthiness. The tannins are still fairly drying on the palate, making this a wine that you can definitely age for years to come, if you so choose.
The wine is available at the Shannon Family of Wines site, as well as on Wine.com.
Cheers: Petit Verdot definitely holds its own with bold foods such as saucy barbecued meats, spicy sausages, grilled venison, pungent blue cheeses, and rack of lamb especially seasoned with herbs de Provence.
2021 Vina Robles Huerhuero Vineyard Rosé
I know, I know, there are people who relegate rosé to summer imbibing only. But I am not one of those people.
In fact, I love this easy-drinking, versatile style of wine so much, I could practically drink it year-round.
Case in point, the 2021 Vina Robles Huerhuero Vineyard Rosé ($22), of which I received a sample.
It’s made by the family-owned Vina Robles winery in Paso Robles that maintains six certified sustainable vineyards.
Made with 58 percent Syrah, 37 percent Grenache, and 5 percent Viognier, this rosy, salmon-hued wine boasts strawberries, roses, and bergamot. Crisp, but not overly acidic, it has more body than most rosés, making it exceptionally friendly with many types of food, including salmon with a fruit salsa, grilled chicken with a mustard sauce, a charcuterie platter, roast turkey with dried cherry stuffing, and pork sausages with cherry mostardo.
The wine is available on the Vina Robles site, and Vivino.com.
Cheers: Enjoy the rosé the way I did, by serving glasses alongside this dynamite roast chicken enlivened with harissa and dried rose petals. Find the recipe here.