2010 Malbec, Clear Lake  

Gold Medal - 2014 SF Chronicle Intl Wine Competition

Rich, dark and full-bodied, this malbec is the vinous manifestation of indulging comfort food. On the nose, it throws fragrances of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, cigar smoke, menthol, lavender and pumpkin pie spice. The palate is smooth and creamy, with a thick layer of black cherry, vanilla, toasted oak, and dried thyme, and an understory of dusty tannins and proper acidity that provides foundation for the other components.


Two mountain ranges removed from the Pacific Ocean, Lake County is generally warmer and dryer than the neighboring counties of Sonoma or Napa. Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California, is the heart and soul of the Lake County wine region, and is responsible for creating a specialized “lake effect” by compressing temperature extremes in nearby vineyards.

The Red Hills Lake County AVA is situated entirely within the Clear Lake AVA and at the foot of the dormant volcano Mount Konocti. The rolling terrain of this micro-region contains a thin veil of red volcanic soil above a deep layer of fractured obsidian, striking a dramatic counterpoint to the wider valleys and higher elevations of Lake County’s other areas.

Grapes were harvested from Amber Knolls Vineyard where the textbook conditions of 2,200-foot elevations, signature volcanic soils, and a warm dry climate were matched with Malbec Clone 4 on 110R rootstock in 2001. This 19-acre “all star” planting produces small early-maturing vines that transform stress resulting from minimal irrigation into small berries and loose clusters with favorable high skin-to-juice ratios and advanced flavor development.

Vintage: 2010


Appellation: Clear Lake

Amber Knolls Vineyard

Harvest Date(s):
Oct 27, 2010

Barrel Aging: 18 mos

Cooperage: French oak BBLs (50% new)

Cases Produced: 161

Consume: 3-5 yrs

Release Date:
Nov 2013

Varietal Content:
100% malbec

pH: 3.80

Total Acidity:
0.59mg per 100ml

Finished Alcohol: 14.5%