You may have heard how “disastrous” or “hopelessly under-ripe” the 2011 vintage was from the press, but I can assure you that 2011 produced some of the finest wines ever at Kuleto Estate. Because of our altitude, quick-drying soils, and daily breezes, we never have trouble ripening fruit even in challenging years. Our 2011s are loaded with varietal character, perfectly balanced with acid and alcohol, and much more expressive than their warmer vintage counterparts. They are among my favorite wines ever made at Kuleto.
We prize our estate Malbec for its ability to come to full flavor maturity on the vine without the high sugars (and subsequent high alcohols) often associated with mountain-top reds in the Napa Valley. It’s all about exotic aromas and freshness in the mouth. Because of the slow ripening, the few blocks of Malbec on the property are rarely picked in their entirety, but rather row by row. As a result, the small batches are often co-fermented with small amounts of other varieties that happen to be
perfectly ripe at the same time. In 2011 we produced one pure Malbec lot and another one that was co-fermented with some Zinfandel that looks and tastes often like Malbec. Both were fermented in 3-ton open-top tanks and punched down for 10 days. Both were pressed and put into mostly older Hungarian oak puncheons. We use the larger 500L barrels for Malbec because they preserve the juicy fruit aspect of the variety.