Friday, September 2, 2016

Dark Malbec Of Oregon

The back label of the Troon 2013 Blue Label Malbec, Rogue Valley explains that Malbec "loves the granitic soils washed down from the Siskiyous in the highlands above the tributaries of the Rogue River." The grapes came from Troon's estate and the Varner-Traul Vineyard. The two were vinified and aged separately before blending. Alcohol ticks 13.7% abv and the wine retails for $29.

General manager Craig Camp likes to think of the wines of Cahors and Madiran. "Black wines" they used to call them. Nowadays, he says, dark color is the norm, not the exception. "Obviously we are not making Cahors and Madiran, in Oregon," he says, "we are making Applegate Valley" with echoes of those places in it. He credits the area's unique climate and distinctive granitic soils. "The naturally softer tannins of the Applegate Valley also help refine the more edgy side of these varieties."

Camp says the wine is a signpost to a new direction, a new style of winemaking at Troon, one that includes "natural yeast and malolactic fermentations and minimal use of new oak."

The Troon Rogue Valley Malbec is a deep, dark delight. Inky black, this wine offers a nose of black raspberry, blackberries and black olives. There is smoke at the top of the glass. The savory notes carry over to the palate, with a dusty, earthy side that barely tips the balance from the fruit. Earth lasts long on the finish. Good Oregon earth.