We are excited to release the first vintage of a very special, small production wine – 2017 Malbec Reserve, Cherokee Rose Vineyard, Texas Hill Country. This wine is available exclusively to Case Club members.
Farmed by the Durden family, Cherokee Rose Vineyard is a small, single-variety vineyard in Comfort, Texas. Grower and Kendall County Commissioner Don Durden and Bending Branch Winemaker Dr. Bob Young have been longtime friends and served together as board members on the Comfort Area Foundation.
Several years ago, Dr. Young approached Commissioner Durden about growing Tannat for Bending Branch. Durden agreed and purchased Tannat vines, but was later notified from the nursery that there weren't any Tannat vines to send. So after more deliberation, Commissioner Durden planted Malbec.
If Dr. Young's first love is Tannat, his second may be Malbec. The first productive harvest of Cherokee Rose Vineyard was in 2017 – the best harvest year on record in Texas. All of the Malbec went into two barrels, one neutral and one new American.
During tasting trials, the Bending Branch team was very pleased with this Malbec. The Malbec in the new American oak barrel from the A.P. John Copperage was superior, though, and deserved it's own stage. From that moment, the team began working on a new label and planning its future as a Reserve wine. With only 23 cases produced, 5 cases would be preserved in the library, and the remaining cases would be allocated for the 1840 Custom Case Club.
So what happened to the other barrel? After the wine was bottled, it sold out in one transaction. Commissioner Durden secured it all.
The 2017 Malbec Reserve from Cherokee Rose Vineyard is laced with scents of cigar box and mint. There are concentrated flavors of pie cherries, red plum, and dark chocolate. It was recently described as having a taste of mushroom umami. The new American oak lends complex spice and vanilla.
Want to try it? Join the 1840 Custom Case Club and include it in your September release order.
I tasted it during the trial that led to its reserve label and again a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is that I've already included it my 1840 Custom Case Club order.
This week we are drinking our 2016 Tannat CM harvested from Tallent Vineyards.
Drew Tallent farms 65 acres of grapes near Mason, and this rich, fruity Tannat made with Cryo-Maceration expresses its distinctive terroir. This wine was awarded Double Gold/Class Champion/Texas Class Champion at the 2020 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! wine competition.
This week we are drinking our 2016 Old Vine Petite Sirah.
A Bending Branch fan favorite, Old Vine Petite Sirah is one of the few wines we’ve made in every vintage since 2008. The grapes are harvested from vines planted in 1972 at Shell Creek Vineyards near Paso Robles, California. Shell Creek is a family operation renowned in the wine world for its Petite Sirah. The 2016 vintage was awarded a Gold medal and 90 Points at the 2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
This week we are drinking wines harvested from Newsom Vineyards in the Texas High Plains.
The Newsom family has been dedicated to growing high quality wine grapes for more than 30 years. Several Bending Branch favorites are made from their exceptional High Plains fruit, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, and Tannat.
If you don’t have the wines we’re featuring each week, just open whatever you have. So, get your glasses ready, and we’ll see you on Zoom at 4 p.m. every Friday. We look forward to seeing your faces!
How to join us on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85094045954
Follow our Events page for all upcoming virtual tasting events.
Harvest update from Jennifer McInnis Fadel, Bending Branch Winery General Manager:
We are getting more fruit this year than in the past from the Texas Hill Country, with harvest getting underway July 27th with Tannat from our estate vineyard, Lost Pirogue Vineyard. All of our Picpoul Blanc this year will come from the estate vineyard.
We also had a great Malbec harvest from Cherokee Rose Vineyard in Comfort at the end of July. We are about to release the first Malbec Reserve from that vineyard.
I am very excited about the quality of our fruit this year – its intensity and concentration is really exceptional. We will get some fruit from the Texas High Plains; overall, the fruit will come from smaller lots from multiple vineyards.
Given harvest will be made up of smaller lots, we will not use the flash détente technology as much this year, and instead will focus on small-batch, whole-berry fermentation and Cryo-maceration. We will use this opportunity to make more reserve and special selection wines.
Regarding COVID-19, we will maintain our health and safety protocols as we shift more of our activities to the winery. We will continue practicing social distancing, mandating face coverings, and using UV-C wands on surfaces and UV-C lamps in the restrooms. Additionally, the ozone machine is run weekly in the production facility, and we have installed smaller units in the tasting rooms.
Tannat harvest at Lost Pirogue Vineyard, 7/27/20. Thank you to Stella Haus Films for the beautiful images!