Winery/Vineyard: Wine Ranch Cellars
Product/Varietal: 84% Malbec + 16% Petite Sirah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Doug Wiens
How They Describe It
Ripe plum, blackberry
How I Describe It
This bottling of Doug Wiens’s 2017 Malbec has a nearly gem-like ruby hue. Color intensity is medium-deep, no doubt aided by the generous helping of Petite Sirah. The color diminishes considerably as it approaches the rim, creating a beautiful gradient.
Juicy blackberry and ripe red cherries hit the nose first from the Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 Malbec, followed by much more subtle brioche, rosemary, and wild licorice root. Eucalyptus and lavender emerge increasingly as the wine breathes. Finally, hints of vanilla, cloves, tobacco, and green bell pepper are present in tiny amounts.
Blackberry and cherry are both tart and juicy on the tongue. Black pepper joins a spicy, woody blend of charcoal, nutmeg, tobacco, and coffee. When all is said and done, suggestions of bread dough and flint emerge on the finish.
The Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 Malbec is dry, with medium alcohol (13.8% ABV). Acid is medium-plus, and tannins are medium. These qualities together give the wine medium body, medium-plus flavor intensity, and a medium-plus finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
Doug and Debbie Wiens’s independent offshoot from their family namesake’s winery has quickly become a fixture in Murrieta, the City of Temecula’s immediate neighbor to the north. Certainly, their 2017 Malbec is a terrific example why. On an aside, the Temecula Valley AVA’s northern reaches extend to the Murrieta city limits (e.g., La Cresta).
The Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 Malbec is notably fruit forward (not to be confused with sweet, however), with the varietal’s natural dark berry characteristics bolstered by a 16% blend with Petite Sirah. As a result, this is a wonderfully versatile wine which goes well with multiple occasions and multiple food pairings — as Malbec was intended.
At nearly four years old already, the 2017 Malbec is ready to drink now, and shouldn’t need additional cellaring.
When & How I Would Drink It
To me, this is an outstanding meal-time wine. Open a bottle next to leaner dark meats like pork, turkey and lamb, for example. It’s fantastically unobtrusive, and should play well with a variety of foods.
Frankly, this isn’t surprising. Wine Ranch is rooted in its Murrieta restaurant, it’s a safe bet Doug Wiens created his wines to pair well with a range of entrées.
How to Get It
Order: As of this review, Wine Ranch Cellars wines are only sold on site at 24683 Washington Ave., Murrieta, CA 92562. Call (951) 600-2800 for details.
Bottle Price: $49 ($39.20 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 140 cases
Have you tried the Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 Malbec? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.