Well, the new year has certainly started off on the right foot!
We were thrilled to learn that our newest releases – 2013 Malbec & 2013 Petit Verdot – were awarded Best of Class in the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. With an entry field of +7000 wines, we are honored to receive such amazing recognition for our wines and our family vineyard, Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards, in Dry Creek Valley. Kudos to our winemaker, Janice Schmidt, on the makings of another all-gold vintage!
Brian & Janice will be in San Francisco on February 13th, pouring these wines at the Public Tasting. Discount tickets are still available. If you’re looking for a fun day out, we’d love to see you there!
Now into our fifth vintage, Estate 1856 has become known for producing exceptional Bordeaux varietals, including single-bottlings of Malbec and Petit Verdot. These two varieties are commonly used in Bordeaux Blends (as we do in our award-winning Duvall’s Prospect Bordeaux Blend) but we love letting them shine on their own! If you’re not yet familiar with these varieties, here’s a quick introduction.
Malbec has heavy clusters of large berries with deep blue skins. The vines that hold the fruit can be larger than those of other varieties, as they need to be strong enough to hold the heavy clusters. The clone Janice likes to use, Clone 9, is known for the uniformity of its cluster ripening. This wine expresses a delicious blueberry essence that, when aged in French oak, becomes one of the most fruit-forward wines possible.
Petit Verdot vines are like graceful ballet dancers with canes that gently droop toward the ground. We suspend these wayward canes into an upright trellis system so that each cluster gets warmed by the morning sun. These vines naturally want to create a lot of clusters, which you might assume is a good thing. But having too many clusters can dilute the flavor, so we remove extra clusters to allow the vines can focus on just one or two. Our French Clone 400 berries are so deep blue/purple that they appear almost black, resulting in a wine that is intensely colored and flavored with berry and floral notes.