Troon Vineyard may have a 40 year old winemaking history, but they seem to be on the cusp of what’s new and innovative in winemaking. Not out to make the fast, easy sell, they embrace what their little piece of Oregon terroir has to offer — climate and terrain similar to the Old World France and Spain, and yet still uniquely Oregonian. That means their focus is on under-appreciated grapes: Vermentino, Tannat, Malbec, simply because this is what grows best. (Learn more about Troon Vineyard’s Applegate Valley)

As Craig Camp says, “If you want to bring real pleasure to peoples lives, your wines have to have personalities as interesting as the people that drink them.” (You can read more of Craig’s thoughts on Troon Vineyard’s Wine Camp Blog.)

About the Wine: The Troon Vineyard 2014 Malbec-Tannat Reserve is made from 40% Malbec 60% Tannat harvested from Troon Estate Vineyards in the Applegate Valley. All grapes are hand picked and foot-stomped and the blend was co-fermented using native yeast. The wine was aged for 18 months in mature French oak barrels.

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle and a delicate scent of deep red cranberries or bright red cherries slowly wafts upward. On the pour, this Tannat-Malbec blend is a pretty purple-pink, settling into the glass with a deep, dark fuchsia hue. Tilt the glass, there’s a brightness, a luminosity along the perimeter of the wine that progressively darkens as it caves toward the center.

Deep breath in, those bright red fruit notes come forward, this time with a faint background of licorice. Swirl and sniff again. There’s another layer to this wine, an almost bacon-y smokiness that walks in tandem with a lively acidic freshness. Move your nose to the top of the glass to find an almost watery floral note (rose water? water lilies?).

The palate is pow with fresh cranberries and other red fruits. The tannins come in at the dead-center of the mid-palate, but they’re light, just barely brushing the tips of the tastebuds. The taste is truly all about that fruit, that barely ripened fruit still hanging on the bush, vine, or tree. Indeed, there’s a brambly, bushy quality that sits in the background. The lingering finish will sing of pomegranate juice and all the salivating acidity that implies.

Lovely, well-rounded, and fun as is. But I can’t help but wonder what this Tannat-Malbec will taste like with even just a little age…

Food Pairing: I paired the Troon Vineyard 2014 Malbec-Tannat Reserve with a homemade turkey burger. (Actually, you can get my Turkey Burger recipe here.) This was the perfect pairing because the meatiness of the burger brought out a fuller, rounder body to the wine. And I’m not sure if its the acidity in the wine, the fruits, or those very subtle tannins, but this wine loves salt — so caramelized onions on the burger are a must.

More Info: I received the Troon Vineyard 2014 Malbec-Tannat Reserve as a sample for review. (Cheers, Craig!) Retail: $50. Be sure to read the review for Troon Vineyard 2014 single varietal Tannat and check out my series on Oregon wines. You can also learn more about the origin of Tannat and other recommended versions to try. Of course for even more specific information about Troon and to purchase wines directly, please visit Troon Vineyard website.

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