Like the 2011, I have to say Latta's 2012 Malbec is the best I've tasted from Washington, in its own class really. It has all the intensity you expect from Malbec but more refinement and elegance. It's a big wine that retains a sense of levity and freshness. A Northwest Big Reds Club selection. - Marcus
94 points Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Malbec Northridge Vineyard (100% Malbec) comes from gravelly, loam soils and saw a 40-day maceration followed by aging in 40% new French oak. This big, hedonistic, layered beauty offers up tons of jammy black raspberry, plum, crushed violets and licorice to go with full-bodied richness and depth, a seamless texture and a terrific finish. It will be better in another year or two and keep for a decade."
2011 vintage notes
Wine Advocate 95 points: "Rock star stuff, especially in the vintage, the 2011 Malbec Northridge Vineyard gives up classic blackberry, pepper and assorted flowers and spice aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, seamless and elegant feel on the palate. Gaining more than one 'awesome' in my notes, this should not be missed by any Washington State wine lover."
This is a new project by [former] Charles Smith winemaker Andrew Latta, and the wines are awesome across the board. This is one bandwagon to get on. His 2011 Malbec is the best example of the variety I've tasted from Washington."
We’re stoked to have tasted the first wines from Andrew Latta. Andrew crafted some of the highest rated wines in Washington’s history during his decade with Charles Smith (K Vintners and, obviously, Charles Smith). During his previous gig, Andrew got to know virtually every vineyard worth knowing in Washington and now, he’s utilizing his knowledge and connections to source exquisite grapes, like the Malbec from Northridge Vineyard.
From Andrew: “This opaque purple/black wine has a soaring perfume of mineral, lavender, exotic spices, incense, blueberry, licorice, and dusty cocoa. Layered and structured, this effort will see benefit from 4-5 years of additional cellaring and should drink well for the next twenty. Our Malbec produced here amid the struggle of a warm site with gravelly soils rich in iron and calcium, starts as supremely concentrated fruit. Yields were kept at a mere 2.1 tons/acre, fermented native with maceration nearing 40 days. The wine then went to barrel for 22 months in 40% new french oak.
Northridge Vineyard was planted in 2003 in the Wahluke Slope AVA of Washington State. This exceptional site is a warm plateau composed of ancient soil and gravel is located in the foothills of the Saddle Mountain range at the upper reaches of the AVA boundary. The vineyard resides on a gentle south facing slope with a north/south vine row orientation. The topsoil here is less than a foot deep giving way to a gravelly mix of basalt and caliche. The elevation (roughly 1200 feet) and slope of the site allows this warm high desert plateau to cool off dramatically in the evening, producing swings of 40- 50 degrees in the summer, allowing the Malbec to ripen perfectly without losing its balanced acidity.
Latta Wines seeks to put uncommon varietals from the most unique vineyards in Washington State on center stage. Years of scouring the geologically diverse soils of Eastern Washington led to an initial release of two very special wines. The extremely small production offerings are put forward from sustainable vineyard sites after fermentation with native yeast, and aging in french barrique and puncheon.
Latta Wines was founded in 2011 by winemaker and owner Andrew Latta. The product of 10 years of sweat equity as a cellar hand who worked his way to winemaker at a notable Washington winery, Andrew is proud to release his personal wines to you. Born and raised in Kentucky, the restaurant world was his path to wine. A similar trajectory up from the basement as a busser to a sommelier working in Thailand exposed him to the wines of world. While developing award-winning wine programs, Washington State stood out among all the emerging and traditional wine-growing regions. So, sight unseen, more than a decade ago he jumped into his first harvest in Walla Walla. Eleven years later, Washington keeps delivering.”