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Brian Carter Cellars
July 30, 2019 | Brian Carter Cellars

Spotlight on 2015 Takahashi

This is the second release of our Dedication series, a unique blend released each year to celebrate a person who has had a significant impact on my life. This wine is dedicated to Robert Takahashi who, for the last decade, has been essential to the success of Brian Carter Cellars. Robert, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Washington Wine industry, holds an essential role in making every Brian Carter Cellars wine since 2008. He is a ‘steady hand’ who works hard and can always be counted on, from early morning punch downs to late-night cleanups. He is a great winemaker in his own right, and I rely on his palate and his winemaking advice daily. Thank you, Robert!

Robert has always had a special passion for Malbec, a variety well suited to Washington’s soils and climate. I asked him to blend a 2015 Malbec- based Bordeaux blend and the result is the 2015 Takahashi, dominated by Malbec with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This wine has already won several Gold medals and recently took home a Double Gold at the Cascadia Wine Competition where all the judges must unanimously agree it is deserving of this accolade.

When you pour this wine, you see the color is like a black hole from which no light can escape. With aromas of blueberries and damson plums, on the palate, you will find lots of body, balanced acidity, and modest tannins supported by plenty of fruit.  Pairing this wine with food will not be difficult, just don’t pick anything too subtle, or this wine will dominate. I suggest rib-eye steaks smothered in mushrooms. Enjoy!

Malbec is one of the classic varieties approved in the Bordeaux district of France. However, on my last trip there, I found that Malbec was scarce or non-existent in Bordeaux today. More popular before Phylloxera, the variety did not survive the post-Phylloxera planting, not because of the quality of the grape, but because of several viticultural problems including frost, coulure (which prevents berry set) and downy mildew. However, Malbec is the dominant grape in the nearby area of Cahors, where the wines are distinctive and worth seeking out. Malbec is also a stalwart performer in Argentina where it can be found bottled on its own and in Bordeaux-style blends with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The variety has found a home in both California and Washington as well, where its popularity is on the rise.

For fun and education, I recommend going to your local wine shop and picking up a Cahors and an Argentinian version of Malbec and try them together with the Takahashi. You will see some commonalities such as the darkness in color, but you will also see some differences as well. Keep drinking, keep learning, and keep enjoying wine!