Napa Valley Malbec. Yes, that’s right. Malbec that is grown and produced in Napa Valley. Is this new to you? It’s new to me — and a welcome new addition to my wine portfolio it is. And who better than to introduce this unique 100% varietal wine than the esteemed team from Shafer Vineyards — Elias Fernandez, winemaker for Shafer Vineyards, Doug Shafer, owner and proprietor. Eighty Four wines is a side project of the two longtime friends who’ve been working together since 1984.

The first few years were challenging – experimenting, working long hours, learning from our mistakes, pushing ourselves to make the best wines we could. They were exciting years. This wine represents two friends going full circle – making wine together, trying new things, doing what we love. That’s the spirit of Eighty Four. – Elias Fernandez & Doug Shafer


About the Wine: The Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec is made from 100% Malbec grapes harvested from the Carneros region of Napa Valley in California. The wine aged in 100% French oak barrels (50% new) for 20 months.

15.1% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork of the Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec and breathe in scents of dirty, smooshed blueberries — they’ve been stomped onto the wet muddy ground by rubber boots. This Malbec presents a dark, inky, velvet cranberry color on the pour, settling into the glass with an impenetrable midnight-violet hue that fades to a light purple-pink around the perimeter. And already…it is so aromatic.

Initia aromas are of black plum, chocolate, anise fronds, damp fertile soil, and a solid line of acidity. Swirl and find dark, crunch, cruciferous herbs; take a deep breath and find a beauty-counter-like perfume; pull away and find the delicacy of that perfume in the aromas of violets and lilies.

The palate of the Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec is full and plush with pillowy tannins. There’s a level acidity that cuts through those tannins, elevating the flavors — in fact, making it a mouthful of flavor. Those dominant flavors are of tarragon, anise, tart black cherry, bittersweet chocolate, bramble, oak wood, wet soil and eucalyptus.

Food Pairing: I paired the Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec with a pork tenderloin and roasted red potatoes with a side salad tossed with blueberries, caramelized onion, and a blue cheese dressing. I chose this pairing because it was quite similar to the dish I paired the Yorkville Cellars Sparkling Malbec. I wanted to see if the meal paired well with the “real deal” as well as the lightened up version. Truth: it did.

The creaminess of the dressing as well as the juiciness of the meat helped round out the edges of the tannins and give the wine an overall more supple mouthfeel. The skin of the potatoes (perhaps the texture?) brought out a bit of a pepper kick toward the wine’s finish that was indistinguishable when sipping the Malbec on its own.

And let’s just say, after the meal was over…the sipping continued…

More Info: I received the Eighty Four Wines 2014 Malbec as a sample for review. (Cheers Andy!) Retail: $48. For more information about Eighty Four Wines, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Eighty Four Wines website.


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