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2015 Blueline Estate Malbec
2015 represented the fourth year of California drought, replicating conditions of the mid-1970s. Some of those '70s vintages remain legendary for their classic structural core, likely a function of drought-induced small berry size, yielding exceptional longevity and freshness. The 2012 to 2015 vintages are playing out much the same. Though different in character, these four vintages share a depth of concentration, fresh fruit expression and tightly woven inner core.
Where the 2015 vintage distinguishes itself is in a greater level of saturated fruit expression. The 2015 wines are dense in color and mouth coating in texture. They possess more lush fruit than the 2013s and greater depth than the 2014s. As Winemaker Tony Biagi notes, “2015 is right behind 2013 in terms of quality. The previous three years of drought, coupled with a weak El Niño year with its dry spring, summer and early fall, has produced opulent, full throttle wines. The vintage reminds me of 2008, which also delivered opulent, forward wines.”
While previous vintages of our Blueline Estate Malbec have been more delicate and red fruited, with an edgy minerality, the 2015 Malbec - true to the vintage - is darker, more opulent, saturated and inky. Blueberry and black cassis are the dominant fruit expressions, with a mouth-coating breadth. Sleek in texture and explosive in richness, dark fruits deliver a brooding expression. There is still a buzz of minerality, but it exhibits less tension in the wine, giving way to more density and weight. The aromatics follow the same trend, with lower-toned dark fruit including blackberry bramble. The 2015 possesses compelling notes of saddle leather, tar and graphite that enhance its exotic opulence. As for ageability, while hard to know for sure, the ’15 Malbec is likely to exhibit dramatic flavors and texture for five to seven years.
~Jeff Smith, March 2017