McKinley Springs: Try Malbec from Washington state

Malbec_nv_web[1]McKinley Springs is a sizable grower in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA in the southeast part of the state.

The Andrews family, which only in recent times started making their own estate wines, has 2,000 acres planted to vineyards, which comprise 18 percent of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA and 5 percent of the state’s plantings.

They primarily supply grapes to other well-known producers, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest.

Of the McKinley Springs estate wines, critics such as Washington wine writer Paul Gregutt like the Malbec among the reds, and the white wines including Chenin Blanc and Viognier.

You say the words “McKinley Springs” to people who know the brand and the people, and the first thing they say is: “Nice family.”

McKinley Springs estate wines are widely sold in Michigan, including at Holiday Market in Canton and Royal Oak, Champane’s Wine Cellars in Warren, New Chelsea Market in Chelsea and D.Vine Fine Wines in Livonia. They also are poured at Diamond Jim Brady’s in Novi and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing.

The Michigan wholesaler is Woodberry Wine.

McKinley Springs Viognier Horse Heaven Hills (Washington), 2011, $16: This Viognier is crisp and bone-dry, with aromas of orange peel, white blossoms, grapefruit and herbs. In the mouth, you get that flavor twist of rose buds, herbs and citrus. A terrific aperitif.

McKinley Springs Malbec Horse Heaven Hills (Washington), 2010, $24: This dark, intense, brooding, complex Malbec has fruit, acidity, tannins, alcohol. It’s 100 percent Malbec, aged 18 months in 40 percent new oak — a combo of French and American. It’s still young and brooding. Swirl and inhale the aromas of strawberry, plum and spice. Serve it with lamb or spicy pasta dishes. It’s terrific — and a real bargain.

McKinley Springs Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills (Washington) 2010, $24: Again, this kind of price for a Horse Heaven Hills Cab is worth your planning a wine trip to eastern Washington. Swirl this intense, ready-to-drink, well-balanced Cab and inhale earthy, leathery, smoky, spicy aromas. Tannins are velvet, acidity gives firm support to dark berry fruit, plum, dark chocolate and a hint of brown cooking spices. It has a splash of Petit Verdot for color and balance. The Cabernet vines were planted in 1980.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@Hotmail.com.