A beautiful wine to smell, see and taste
Tenor Malbec is true both to the brand and the grape. Like all Tenor wines, it is richly textured, fruit forward, and unabashedly opulent. But true to the varietal, it is fresh, beautifully perfumed and supremely silky. It’s a complete malbec in that both the nose and mouthfeel are intense and fully developed, paying humble tribute to some of the famed malbecs to come out of northern Argentina. If you love malbec, you’ll love the way Tenor Malbec accentuates the notes that define this varietal, and even if you don’t drink a lot of malbec, we think you’ll be surprised and delighted to see that such a beautifully aromatic wine can still have so much palate presence, texture and intensity.
Some of the same growing conditions that make Argentine malbec so prized also contribute to the varietal’s tremendous success in Washington. We have dramatic swings between warm days and cool nights, as well as the higher altitudes that promote concentration and texture. The intense perfume and color make it a great complement to other grapes, but when producing a 100% single varietal, it’s essential to balance that with the more concentrated fruit and textured mouthfeel.
Tenor Malbec is characterized by racy freshness, and one of the most flamboyant aromatic profiles in the Tenor portfolio. Expect captivating notes of floral perfume and fresh raspberry and blackberry and hibiscus flower and acidity you can almost smell. Round that out with remarkably silky tannins, light sweetness to the fruit and great length, and you end up with some of the richer, more opulent wines Tenor produces. It’s plush mouthfeel and incredible freshness make it a great early drinking wine, but it also ages exceptionally well, keeping it’s youthful form through 8, 10, even 12 years.
We employ largely traditional farming methods for the malbec. Maintaining vertical shoot orientation allows us to really manage the canopy and control for exposure, more than we can when the shoots sprawl. This is especially important for malbec, because too much exposure can negatively impact the aromatics that we so prize in this varietal. We do actively reduce yields to get more concentration, but we’re very careful not to over concentrate and sacrifice the perfume and freshness that’s possible with this grape.
Stillwater Creek VineyardsOur Malbec comes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. We source a higher altitude site carefully selected for its orientation and soil. We strive for consistency, but Malbec is especially susceptible to changes in weather and growing conditions, so we allow for slightly more variation between vintages year over year.
Sorting and SelectionsUpon entering the winery, each lot is hand sorted, destemmed and resorted prior to the crush. Malbec grapes have beautiful dark black but very thin skins. We put in extra labor to prevent breakage and avoid the inclusion of stems, but a little bit of pedicel and rachis only adds to the perfume of the wine.
FermentationTenor Malbec is fermented in a combination of stainless and concrete tanks. We make the decisions about how to ferment on a per lot, per year basis. Just one of the ways we strive to maintain consistency while respecting the unique character of the fruit we get in any given year. We try to tightly control extraction to get riper flavors and texture, but maintain balance and freshness.
CellaringThis is one of the few Tenor varietals that goes into the same barrels year after year. The cooperage we’ve found delivers exactly that we’re looking for by pushing the length and rounding out the aromatic perfume. These particular barrels really help us rein in the volume and push the tannins just a bit.
BlendingWe carefully (and blindly) evaluate the aromatic profile of each barrel and then the palate presentation when blending to create the specific and consistent profile we’re looking for.
BottlingThe Malbec is bottled at 17-19 months in our state of the art plant in Walla Walla. We produce a very limited amount of malbec.