Columbia Crest 2012 Reserve Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills, $35
It seems natural for Columbia Crest to produce stellar Malbec with Argentine-grown Juan Muñoz Oca lording over the prized petit chai that’s home to the reserve wines produced at this Paterson, Wash., giant. A trio of warm sites, McKinley Springs Winery estate Andrews and Rowell Vineyard, Beverly Vineyard in the Saddle Mountains and StoneTree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, make for an especially expressive Malbec that spent 18 months in 100 percent new oak barrels. The nose features chocolate chip cookie dough and molasses with blackberry jam, blueberry, orange peel and Horse Heaven Hills minerality. It’s exceptionally pleasing on the palate with its big burst of dark plum, Marionberry and dusty chocolate flavors. The lasting combination of sandy tannins and chocolate-covered pomegranate make for a luscious and long finish.
Production: 325 cases