Winery/Vineyard: Foot Path Winery
Product/Varietal: 100% Malbec
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Dean Foote
How They Describe It
This Argentinian wine has a smooth elegant feel and sweet berry notes among its bold flavor, with an array of herbs and spices and a fruity finish. A delicious bold wine of a deep purple hue. This grape is hand-harvested with delicate hands which makes it much better than most mechanically harvested Malbec grapes in our region.
The warm vintage for this wine provided the perfect conditions for it to be exceptional. The Malbec crop craves the heat. Malbec and the 2017 Sunshine edition is a match made in heaven.
How I Describe It
Foot Path takes care to minimize both tannins and sulfites in the winemaking process. While that means fewer headaches for sensitive drinkers, the natural microoxygenation which happens as the wine age is visible more quickly. The 2017 Mablec has deep color intensity, appropriate for well-made Malbecs. The color is more ruby, with garneting along the rim, revealing the transition Malbecs naturally make from the purple hue they have when more youthful.
The Foot Path 2017 Malbec features blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, and black currant aromas most prominently. In the secondary are cherry, black pepper, and steel wool. Notes of nutmeg, bread dough, and a touch of lavender and fennel fill the undertones, while leather and cigar tobacco showcase the wine’s maturity.
On the palate, a blend of stewed berries, cranberry, black pepper, and raspberry hit first. Green olive, fennel, and fig manifest on the mid-palate. Bread dough, nutmeg, black coffee, and charcoal make up the finish.
This is a dry wine with medium alcohol (13.8% ABV), medium tannins, and high acid. The 2017 Malbec has a medium body, with medium-plus flavor intensity, and a medium finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
One of the beautiful aspects of wine from micro-producers is how the winemakers often incorporate their own tastes and styles. Such is the case with the Foot Path 2017 Malbec.
Tannins and sulfites are two compounds common in New World red wines. Tannins are molecules which naturally occur in many plants, and which influence both wines’ flavors and mouthfeel. The term “sulfite” refers to sulfur-dioxide (SO2), which is a preservative used worldwide to keep wine fresher for longer. SO2‘s molecular properties slow wine oxygenation, keeping it fresher for longer.
Unfortunately, some drinkers are sensitive to tannins and sulfites, causing headaches, bloating, and nausea in some extreme cases.
Foot Path owner/winemaker Dean Foote recognized these drinkers couldn’t enjoy many New World red wines, including the tremendous ones from Temecula. As a result, his wines are low in both tannins and sulfites. Note, they’re not free of them, but Foote only incorporates what is absolutely necessary.
Consequently, Foot Path wines have two interesting characteristics. First, they mature quickly. We see this in the 2017 Malbec with its fairly rapid change from deep purple to red and garnet, as well as the stewed berries on the palate.
Secondly, the reduced tannin make Foot Path wines eeeeeeeasy drinking. Mind you, the flavors common in his varietals are there, but the chewiness, chalkiness or sand paper feeling from young tannins are all but absent.
All together, it makes for very unique, interesting, pleasurable drinking experiences.
When & How I Would Drink It
As with other low-sulfite and low-tannin wines, open this bottle soon after purchasing. Malbecs go well with dark poultry and lean meats, like turkey, pork, and ostrich.
That said, the thing about Malbec is its flavor profile fits well with a lot of foods. Vinepair has an outstanding infographic showing how varietals pair with common foods served during football season. It’s not hard to miss how versatile Malbec is compared to some other reds.
How to Get It
Order Online: https://footpathwinery.com/product/2017-malbec/
Bottle Price: $38.00
Cases Produced: 1/2 barrel (~12-15 cases)
Have you tried the Foot Path 2017 Malbec? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.