Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bookcliff Vineyards 2015 Malbec, Grand Valley, Colorado

Malbec has shot from relative obscurity to international fame. If you drink Malbec only from Argentina, you’re missing out on a lot – like this great bottle.

High Mountain Malbec

A few years ago we combined a visit to Telluride, Colorado, with a side trip to the state’s wine country. We headed for Palisade – not too far from Grand Junction and the western border of the state.

What we saw was eye opening. In the valleys surrounded by spectacular mesas, grape vines were flourishing. Stressed by the scarcity of water and the tough growing conditions, the grapes were full of concentrated flavors producing outstanding wine graced by the high altitude desert terroir.

When I stepped away from my role as executive director of a scientific society, a role I held for 12 years, I got a surprise going away gift. Each president with whom I worked presented a bottle of wine – in most cases from the region where they lived (the president from Florida opted for Spain!). One of the past presidents is from Colorado and he gifted me this excellent bottle of Bookcliff Vineyards Malbec.

Colorado Wine, Are You Crazy?

I’ll go out on a limb here. Colorado is one of the best wine producing states in the US. They are not among the top producers. California, Oregon, Washington and New York have a stranglehold on the top four slots. Although much smaller in output, the quality of Colorado wine is really remarkable.

The Grand Valley, where Bookcliff Vineyards is located, stretches from Fruita to Palisade, just west of Grand Junction. Originally a peach orchard, the winery’s high-altitude, dry terrain is ideal for grape growing. All Bookcliff wines are made with 100% Colorado grapes.

The Bookcliff Malbec has a robust flavor. It is a big wine with an alcohol level of 13.8%. There are bold flavors of jammy blackberry and flowing vanilla. On the night we uncorked, I enjoyed this more than many Malbec wines from Argentina and California. It wasn’t sloppy fruity and had a nice complexity. The tannins are relaxed (and so were we!).

At about $18, this is a tasty value. Malbec is a crowd pleasing wine and Bookcliff’s small production version is worth seeking out. Thanks, Kurt and Lisa!

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