One of the goals of the Platinum Awards is to identify trends. Among those in 2021 is that Malbec in the hands of Chris Daniel Stewart is worth seeking out. The Stewart family winery not far from the Gorge Amphitheater produced the top-scoring wine of 2021 Platinum Awards. The Napa Valley winemaking son — Chris — works closely with his father, Michael, and there’s an astounding attention to detail in this expression of Malbec. Last year, he earned a Platinum for his 2016 Malbec. This time around, his 2017 Malbec not only earned a Double Platinum, but it emerged as the Best of the Best — the top-scoring wine of the judging. It gushes with distinctive tones of dark purple fruit — blackcurrant and blueberry — that are delivered with density and awash in gorgeously integrated tannins. Secondary notes of lavender, white pepper and pencil shavings finish with a savory note of black olive. Its full-bodied structure brings a long and supple finish. The lone judge who didn’t vote to award this wine 100 points still gave it 99, adding, “No wine is perfect, but this is close.” Award: Seattle Wine Awards (gold).
Rating: Double Platinum, 99.5 points
Production: 118 cases