Applegate Valley, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, Oregon
Biodynamic, Demeter, organic vineyard and winery
Cuvée Pyrénées is a unique blend of Malbec and Tannat. If you’ve never heard of Tannat, it’s a red wine grape with serious tannins. Originally found in the Pyrénées mountains of the Basque region, this varietal is hearty and robust with thick grape skins. Tannat is most often blended with other wine varietals to soften its tannic tendencies.
Troon Vineyard, a 100-acre estate located on the Kubli Bench in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, has undergone a major transformation in the last few years and is now 100% biodynamic. They chose to co-ferment Malbec (47%) and Tannat (53%) and aged the wine in older French oak barrels for 22 months before bottling. This treatment resulted in a finished wine that is very well-integrated. Blending these two varietals is not something any other winery I know of is doing… and let me tell you, they ought to be!
Troon’s Cuvée Pyrénées is textured, with layers of tannins that are almost sandy-silty in nature. Confession time– getting an unexpected mouthful of sandy saltwater while swimming in the ocean is not my idea of a picnic. However, I do really enjoy textured wine tannins swishing around in my mouth.
The fruitiness of the Malbec balances nicely with the structured Tannat. Sometimes, Malbec wine can be too fruity, like a fruit bomb wine. Often Tannat can be tannic and bitter, much like picking wood splinters from between your teeth. Therefore, it really does make perfect sense to marry these two varietals and create a blended wine that becomes better than the individual parts.
Bouquet and palate:
This cuvée has so much black fruit; blueberries, blackberries, and black plums! Those fruity notes comingle with black tea, baking spices, cinnamon, and ginger snaps. Don’t let its inky dark color fool you, this wine is actually medium-bodied in weight. But those strong tannins allow too for bold food pairings, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Food pairing suggestions:
Sirloin steak with a red wine mushroom sauce, hearty vegetable stew, eggplant rollatini, grilled burgers.
Michele Francisco, a founder and regular contributor to Winerabble, a blog primarily about Pacific Northwest wines, is living the dream in Portland, Oregon. Her passion leads some to believe she's got wine running through her veins. Contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org & be sure to visit her online portfolio at www.michelefrancisco.com.