Charles & Charles C2 Northridge Vineyard Malbec 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Made from a blend of 77% Malbec, and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 C² begins with an opaque core that fades to a soft purple-red rim. The nose expresses generous and hedonistic black and blue fruits with a subtle spiciness from oak usage. Full-bodied, the palate is tight and lush with a bold expression, boasting flavors of boysenberries, blackberry fruit leather and chocolate-covered blueberries with purple resinous flowers. Across the mid-palate, the wine fully expresses its dense and chewy nature with a bold and juicy fruit core before ending with a complex finish, delivering a balanced and long-lingering conclusion. Well done! It's simply delicious. Rating: 92+
A collaboration founded in 2008 between Wine Enthusiast Magazine 2014 Winemaker of the year, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils & Gotham Project). We make just five wines together. The Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend, a Merlot blend, a Chardonnay and a single vineyard Riesling.
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.
Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
Celebrated for its bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec has enjoyed runaway success in Argentina since the late 20th century. The grape originated in Bordeaux, France, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. A French agronomist, who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. Somm Secret—If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet with its combination of dense fruit and soft tannins.