2018 Malbec Merlot Blend – A Real Gem

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The Winery

Brett Keller and his wife Andrea own Mineral Wines in Murphys, California. Brett started out in Hospitality Management but eventually went back to school earning his degree in Viticulture and Enology in 2003. When Brett and Andrea moved back to Angels Camp (Calaveras County), Brett took over management of Andrea’s family 4 acre Cherokee Creek Vineyard. Initially this property grew exclusively Merlot, but subsequently Brett grafted three acres of vineyard to Roussanne, Viognier and Petite Sirah. These are the main stay and define Mineral Wines today. In addition, they produce a Zinfandel, Malbec, and various Meritage blends, Barbera, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their tasting room is located at 419 B Main St. Murphys, CA.

The Wine – 2018 Malbec Merlot Blend

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

First, on the label, it is bentonite and neptunite mineral/stones. Brett has various stone, gemstone and mineral pictures on each of his labels. It adds a nice touch to have “gemstones” representing his valued wines.

The newest blend is the 2018 Malbec & Merlot co-fermented wine with equal parts (50/50). Not generally a big fan of blends, this was as they say “a diamond in the rough” and a worthwhile find keeping with the gemstone theme. It combined the best of his Malbec with wafting aromas of blueberries and lavender. The Malbec also provided intense flavors of plums and blackberry jam. Add to this his full body Merlot bursting with blackberry fruit and abracadabra, a beautiful wine was born. The nice thing about this deep luscious wine is that is not a sweet fruit bomb, just a extremely fruit forward and intense wine with flavors. This blend provided a nice change up and is listed at $38/bottle.

The Food and Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Pulled this wine out to pair with a marinated flank steak. Malbec is generally a good choice for lean meat pairings as it does not have a lot of woody or oak aromas. With the fruity flavors from both varietals, it was a great counterpoint to the marinated flank steak. The flank steak was marinated ten hours in a Chaka sauce and slices were plated with small pieces of green onions. Accompanied by roasted Brussel sprouts drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and a Yukon potato.

Brett not only made a very solid wine, he turned my opinion on this blend! Great job!






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