2016 Division Malbec Côt
2016 Division Malbec “Côt”
Serra Vineyard Applegate Valley AVA
Since 2013 when we began working with the Quady North vineyards for Loire clones of Cabernet Franc, we’ve been smitten with the granite rich Applegate Valley AVA in the hills above the Applegate River. While warmer and drier than the Willamette Valley, the hills and valleys to the west of the Rogue seem to harness the perfect climate for growing Loire varieties and our early successes with Cabernet Franc, encouraged us to seek out the little known “Côt” clone of Malbec that’s natively found in the Touraine, Saumur and Anjou regions of the Loire Valley.
Scott & Krissa Fernandes are not only some of the nicest people we’ve met in the wine industry, they’re also fantastic growers and have utilized the expertise of Herb Quady, our other grower in the region, to fantastic results. The Serra Vineyard site is on the lower slopes of the Applegate range and features loamy/clay and marine sediment over broken Oregon pink granite. The Fernandes family sticks to sustainable farming practices in hopes of keeping the vineyard ecosystem healthy for the future ages to come.
The 2016 growing season was nearly perfect with warm and dry conditions all
the way through harvest, which was thankfully later and cooler than the past few hot years. We picked the Malbec at Serra relatively early in hopes of extracting the lighter red fruit berries and the earthy tones the grape is known for in the Loire region. We thought this would make a great blending component for our “Beton” wine, which is dominated by the more pyrazine forward Cab Franc grapes and initially did not think we would make a single vineyard expression of the grape, the results of the wine chose differently and we are thrilled to present this new varietal to our lineup!
As has become our modus operandi for fermentations, we utilized the pied de cuve (native yeast build ups) technique to harness as much of the native yeast flora from the site to best express the sense of place each of these wines came from. We had just enough grapes to fill one 1.5 ton fermenter bin and we treated the ferment similarly to our style for making Gamay with a significant portion of whole clusters in the mix. We only aged one barrel for this new wine, as the rest of the wine was combined with the other components of the Beton and aged in a cement tank.
The 2016 Malbec “Côt” is distinct, terroir driven and simply delicious. Clocking in at a very low 11.6% alcohol, the wine is very light on its feet, but dense in flavor for so little alcohol. The wine is very ethereal and is dominated by a savory strawberry character with a mineral finish that lingers on and on. The initial aromatics are strawberries, thyme and a mossy earth. The texture is light to medium bodied and soft, with nice smooth tannins with a distinct palate that brings more concentrated strawberry notes and some mushroom character. There’s only 25 cases or so cases this year of this wine, so it won’t be around long!
Alc - 11.6%, pH 3.54, 25 cases