Food & Drink » Drinks

Born to bottle

Denis Malbec knows his Capture wines.


PRICEY POURS: Denis Malbec and his wife May-Britt are making high quality wines in the heart of Sonoma. - CAPTURE WINES
  • PRICEY POURS: Denis Malbec and his wife May-Britt are making high quality wines in the heart of Sonoma.

Some folks are suited only for one gig.Take the orthodontist I had as a kid. His name (honest): Dr. Toothman.

I imagine the same with winemaker Denis Malbec. Not only is his last name also that of a grape; the guy was literally born at Chateau Latour, among the most famous wineries in France’s famed Bordeaux region.

I don’t know if Toothman was super at straightening teeth, but after recently tasting Malbec’s wines, I’m praying Denis doesn’t switch careers.

Since founding Capture Wines in Sonoma County’s lofty Pine Mountain area a few years ago, Malbec and his wine-making wife May-Britt have produced only a handful of wines. All are fantastic.

I recently tried some of them at lunch in Tampa with Capture’s vice president of brand strategy, Andre Boada. The 2008 Capture Tradition Sauvignon Blanc ($32 per bottle) felt like a grenade detonating in my mouth. In a good way. Lots of fruit and all sorts of lovely complexity. Apparently, lots of restaurants agree.

Armed with bottles of their first vintage, Boada decided to skip the so-so restaurants and pitch the very best. Which for Boada meant restaurants awarded at least one Michelin star, a hallmark of fine dining. “I’d walk in and say, ‘Hi, we’re a new little winery. Here’s our first wine,’” Boada recalls with a laugh. More than half of those 50 Michelin star wines were so impressed they’ve added the wine to their menus.

Since then, Capture has expanded its production to other wines — including other whites and reds. “To be a real brand, you gotta do reds,” Boada explains.

What’s more, Capture has launched a second brand of less expensive wines, dubbed Fleuron.

The 2011 Fleuron Chardonnay was nice ($24 per bottle), but a little oaky for my taste. I preferred the 2010 Capture Ma Vie Carol Chardonnay, a heavier, more complex wine. And at $48 a bottle, heavier on the wallet.

I also liked the bright and lively 2010 Fleuron Cabernet Sauvignon ($40).

My favorite was the 2009 Capture Harmonie, along with their inaugural Sauvignon Blanc. A Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Harmonie is one voluptuous wine. We’re talking Sophia Loren, not Lindsay Lohan. Of course, at $120 a bottle, you might want to wait till deep-pocketed in-laws take you to dinner to order this one.

Or if you’re ever as criminally luck as I was to be invited by Boada to taste their wines.

Same goes for the regal, Cabernet-centric 2009 Capture Revelation, which Boada describes as “our Armani of wine, clean and classy.” It also comes with the Armaniesque price of $135 per bottle.

Meanwhile, Boada says the winemakers are considering branching into other wines, including a Fleuron pinot noir.

Add a comment