Quick Sip: Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Estate Grown Malbec

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Malbec. I had an opportunity to review this wine for a sustainability virtual tasting put on by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and McCue Communications. Called a “natural wonder,” Fritz Underground Winery was originally built into the side of a hill in the 1970s to conserve energy. Winemaker Brad Longton calls the eye-catching masterpiece a “hobbit hole,” adding, “we do a pretty good job being able to maintain 60 degrees nine months a year down there.” The winery is situated at the northernmost region of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley appellation and has produced estate-grown wines since 1979. In the cellar, water conservation methods are employed as well as gravity flow systems. The latter circumvents pumping, lessens electricity usage, and is gentler on the resultant wines.

Fritz Underground Winery is a participant in the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) program. Their 16 acre vineyard is planted to Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Malbec, which is not a household name in the area, was initially planted to flesh out and add more luscious qualities to their Cabernet Sauvignon. Brad calls Dry Creek Cabernet “unique,” going on to say, “I love it, it’s not a fruit forward California Cabernet; it has a lot of olive notes to it.” While Malbec does a great job contributing as a blender, by 2010 it was performing so well that the winery decided to make it on its own. Since then, it’s been one of the most popular red wines in the tasting room. Simply put, I find it delicious and well worth seeking out. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Review: Fritz Underground Winery 2013 Malbec (SRP $45): Malbec shines brightly at Fritz Underground Winery’s estate vineyard. A lovely deep garnet color, this wine represents an expressive, fruit-forward rendition of Dry Creek Valley Malbec. Aromatically intoxicating, this wine is rich, deep, and harmonious, showing juicy blueberry and purple stone fruit flavors alongside streaks of sweet black cherries that are nicely accented by notes of floral perfume and chocolate bark. Overall, this is a delicious, full-bodied wine marked by dark fruit flavors that are framed by ripe, well-integrated tannins, ending in a long, lingering finish. Quite tasty on its own, enjoy with grilled meats, roasted lamb, or venison. Approximately 245 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Dry Creek Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured 15 months one year in French oak barrels -- 40% new oak, cork enclosure. Rating: 93 Points. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and McCue Communications for their time and invitation to this enjoyable virtual tasting. Cheers!

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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