Argentinian wine

Finca La Anita Malbec 2000, Mendoza, Argentina

Drunk@Churrascaria Vento Haragano, Sao Paolo, Brazil November 2015

Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

This year 2000 Argentinian Malbec from Finca La Anita was very good with the excellent meat. Fine tannins, plum and blackcurrant fruit and a soft texture on the palate with a long finish. Very concentrated overall with a hint of spice. A classic Argentine Malbec and not too expensive! 

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina

Drunk in São Paulo November 2015

The winery

In 1992, Chandon Argentina, founded by Moët &Chandon in 1960, started the Terrazas de los Andes project and in 1999, Terrazas de los Andes was founded right at Mendoza’s heart in an old and restored Spanish-style winery that had belonged from 1898 to Sotero Arizu, one of the forefathers of wine making in Argentina. 

Terrazas de los Andes is considered as one of the best producers of Argentina, and thus received the honour of being chosen by Château Cheval Blanc (Premier Grand Cru Classè A based in Saint-Emilion) for its first joint-venture in order to create the iconic Cheval des Andes.

The property has very deep soil, down to nearly 1.8 metres in places, though part of the property is close to a hilly area where the soil is shallower and somewhat rocky. Ungrafted Malbec vines planted in 1929 have an abundant source of clean, run-off water from the river and a longer ripening season thanks to the region’s cooler temperatures. 

The wine is produced from Malbec grapes from Finca Las Compuertas (Las Compuertas, Luján de Cuyo) and Finca El Pedregal (Altamira, La Consulta, Uco Valley); Mendoza - Argentina. Average altitude: 1080 metres above sea level (3545 ft). 

EL PEDREGAL

This property is located in Altamira, an area with highly stony soil which gives the vineyard its name (piedra means stone in Spanish). Some of the boulders were so large when the property was acquired, they had to be buried because they couldn’t be moved.

The soil is highly permeable which is ideal to nourish the Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec varieties grown here. Making use of high trellises and a cordon training system, the land is ideal, especially for Malbec, which expresses an intense, fruity colour with noticeable tannin.

LAS COMPUERTAS

The La Compuertas vineyard is located very close to the northern end of the Mendoza river. The property has very deep soil, down to nearly 1.8 metres in places, though part of the property is close to a hilly area where the soil is shallower and somewhat rocky.

Ungrafted Malbec vines planted in 1929 have plenty of clean, run-off water from the river and a longer ripening season thanks to the region’s cooler temperatures. Over the years, this vineyard has used a Guyot system with narrow rows and low trellises, irrigation provided by furrows running down the slope, a method used by the immigrants who started the industry in the province. This irrigation method brings silt and clay that retain moisture so less irrigation is used.

The wine

100% Malbec. Alcohol: 14.00 % Sugar: 1.8 g/l Total acidity: 5.15 g/l pH: 3.78

1. Hand-harvesting during the month of April. 2. Cluster destemming and slight berry splitting. 3. Fermentation and maceration for an average of 21 days, alternating pumping over and delestage. Devatting. 4. Aging for 12 – 14 months in 1/3 new - and the remaining in second and third use - French oak barrels. 5. Clarification. Filtration Bottling. 6. Bottle Aging: 6 months minimum.

2012 Vintage

The 2012 vintage had a very cold winter followed by extremely high temperatures from late spring to early summer; this lead to an accelerated increase of sugar rate and a decrease of grape weight. Then, temperatures dramatically decreased therefore slowing down the ripening cycle on the vine; as a result 2012 wines are very fruity and aromatic, with an acidity found typically when the end of the summer growing season is cooler.

Fermented Grape tasting notes

This was deep purple/red in the glass. Strong aromas and palate of cherry and chocolate. Fine tannins and smooth in the mouth and on the finish. Nice acidity. Very enjoyable for the price.

Susana Balbo, Brioso 2010, Mendoza, Argentina

Drunk July 2015, Fogo De Chao, Santo Amaro 6824 | Santo Amaro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

balbobrioso

The winery

balbo map

After an already long and successful career in winemaking, Susana Balbo described her own winery – Dominio del Plata – as ‘like my third child, a dream come true.’

Susana Balbo was born in Mendoza, Argentina to a traditional Italian family. Wine was always a big part of her life as she was growing up “My first memory is not actually mine, it’s told to me by my parents. In my childhood, the beverage for kids was water with a drop of wine to taint the color. So my parents gave me a full glass of water with a few drops of wine, and it seems I liked it as a 3-year old. They say they looked to the side, and I was taking the bottle to pour a full glass of wine!" She opted to become a wine maker and graduated from Don Bosco University in 1981 with a degree in enology. Upon graduating, Susana became the first female enologist in the history of Argentine winemaking.

Susana’s first job as a winemaker was at Michel Torino winery in the Salta province. At Michel Torino, Susana was put in charge of further developing the Torrontes varietal, which is native to Argentina. She stylized the wine so that it showed a very floral nose, with a refreshing citrus taste. To this day, she is credited with being the creator of this distinctive and popular style earning her the nickname “Queen of Torrontes.”

After working in Salta, Susana returned to Mendoza to work in wineries including Bodega Martins and Bodega Catena Zapata. 

Having worked extensively both in Argentina and throughout the winemaking world (Spain, Chile, Italy, Australia, and California among others) since the early eighties, it wasn't until 1999 that she finally realised her ambition of making her own wine at Dominio del Plata in the  Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza Argentina. Susana established her winery in Agrelo, assisted by the renowned Argentine viticulturist Pedro Marchevsky who helped plant the vineyards.  

balbo winery

Initially the production was quite small. The first batches of the Susana Balbo and BenMarco lines were released in August 2000. From 2010 through the present, the winery has undergone significant internal organisational changes. During this time both of Susana’s children decided to join the family business. Her son Jose received his enology degree from UC Davis and works as both the winemaker and the export manager and Ana, her daughter, has a degree in Business Administration from Universidad de San Andres and is the manager of the marketing department.

balbo family

The winery has an approximate area of 7,000 sq metres with a yearly output of around 2,000,000 litres.

The wine

 The 2010 is a blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 15% malbec, 10% cabernet franc and 10% petit verdot aged in new French oak for 15 months.

Tasting notes

This is Susanna Balbo's signature wine and the quality shows. Unlike a couple of recent Argentinian wines, it was very well balanced and not over powered.

It is unusual to see an Argentine blend where Malbec doesn't dominate and this is elegant and structured. Nice blackcurrant and blackberry fruit with an exceptional smoothness with hints of spice and an ultra long finish. Lovely with the barbecue meat with the finesse of the best. £20-30 in the UK.

 

Terrazas de los Andes, Single vineyard 2010, Las Compuertas, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Drunk July 2015, Fogo De Chao, Santo Amaro 6824 | Santo Amaro, São Paulo, Brazil

The winery

In 1992, Chandon Argentina, founded by Moët &Chandon in 1960, started the Terrazas de los Andes project and in 1999, Terrazas de los Andes was founded right at Mendoza’s heart in an old and restored Spanish-style winery that had belonged from 1898 to Sotero Arizu, one of the forefathers of wine making in Argentina. 

Terrazas de los Andes is considered as one of the best producers of Argentina, and thus received the honor of being chosen by Château Cheval Blanc (Premier Grand Cru Classè A based in Saint-Emilion) for its first joint-venture in order to create the iconic Cheval des Andes.

terrazas map

The La Compuertas vineyard, from which this wine is produced, is located close to the northern end of the Mendoza river. The property has very deep soil, down to nearly 1.8 metres in places, though part of the property is close to a hilly area where the soil is shallower and somewhat rocky.

computeras

Ungrafted Malbec vines planted in 1929 enjoy an abundant source of clean, run-off water from the river and a longer ripening season thanks to the region’s cooler temperatures. Over the years, this vineyard has used a Guyot system with narrow rows and low trellises, irrigation provided by furrows running down the slope, a method used by the immigrants who started the industry in the province. This irrigation method brings silt and clay that retain moisture so less irrigation is used.

adrianmeyer

The wine

The 2010 vintage was classic and satisfactory. Weather conditions determined significantly pronounced seasons, considering that spring frosts reduced yield and helped increase grape quality. Summer was mild, whilst autumn was cool, dry and long. This led to a slow ripeness, resulting in distinct varietal, naturally acid and fruity wines.

Tasting notes

Deep ruby red in the glass, plenty of cherry and blackberry on the nose. Heavily concentrated and silky on the palate with fine tannins and powerful blackcurrant and blackcurrant with a little spice and long finish. Maybe a little too intense on the fruit which reminded me a little of a Barossa Shiraz but this was mitigated somewhat by combining with food. An enjoyable Malbec though from a winery with an excellent pedigree.

 

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Drunk July 2015 Restaurante Praça São Lourenço, Sao Paolo, Brazil

achaval

The winery

ahcevalmap

Achaval-Ferrer is a renowned wine producer based in the Mendoza province of Argentina, which is east of the Chilean city of Santiago.

In 1998, a group of Italian and Argentinian friends joined forces to create Achaval-Ferrer with the aim to produce exceptional quality wines and to remain faithful to the wines’ origins. 

The winery's vineyards are Located at between 730 metres and 1,100 metres above sea level, warm, sunny days and cool nights prolong the ripening season. This, allied to poor alluvial soils and low rainfall, sets the scene for the production of concentrated, mature grapes with the potential to make wines of great structure and complexity.

robertocipresso

Iconic Italian winemaker Roberto Cipresso is part-owner and winemaker and is a commited terroiriste – convinced that the land is fundamentally of much greater importance than just winemaking.

Acheval-Ferrer produces five wines:

ACHAVAL-FERRER MALBEC

Here the aim is to present a very authentic, pure and intense expression of Malbec. Achaval-Ferrer buys from contracted growers, on three sites, who work under their direction. There are some five hectares of 66-year-old vines, grown at 960m above sea-level, on gravel soil and planted at 5,500 vines per ha. Then there are twelve hectares of younger 13-year-old vines at 1,060m, planted at a density of 4,000 vines per hectare on sandy gravel. Finally eleven hectares of vines at 670m, planted at 4,000 vines per hectare on heavier soil, with some clay, are an impressive 86 years old and low-yielding. With production restricted to a low 18hl/ha, this makes for a Malbec which combines innate power with a lightness of touch and a bright vivacity.

ACHAVAL-FERRER QUIMERA

Quimera is a blend, the name of which evokes the idea behind the wine – the search for ultimate perfection – in a wine where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. The Quimera vineyards are situated between 750 and 1,100m above sea level, producing Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Unusually, blending takes place early on in the winemaking process. Most producers keep ingredients separate for as long as possible to see how they develop, however at Achaval-Ferrer Roberto Cipresso and the rest of the team are adamant about early blending. The fermented old vine fruit of Quimera is immediately racked into barrels, 95% French oak and 5% American. This early assimilation aims to produce a really well-integrated, marriage of fruit which may well account for the sleek, layered complexity which habitually characterises Quimera. The wine is then aged for twelve months in oak, 40% of which is new, with the balance one year old. The vineyard blend here is 38% Malbec, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. Yields are restricted at around 18hl/ha and the wine is neither fined nor filtered. The combination of old vine fruit and tempered production contribute a wonderful intensity and concentration in the finished wine, though the high altitude ensures a vitality and freshness.

Finally three estates – fincas – bear the Achaval individual terroir flag with style and flair.

ACHAVAL-FERRER FINCA ALTAMIRA

Achaval-Ferrer Finca Altamira is a jewel of a vineyard, situated at 1,035 metres above sea level. Here four hectares of ancient, ungrafted Malbec vines were planted over eighty years ago. The age factor, allied to high density planting, make for extremely low yields so that three vines are required to make just one bottle of this highly-prized find. After fermentation in small tanks, the wine is racked into new oak barrels, 90% of which are French, the remainder American. In a further effort to retain inherent subtleties and flavours, Altamira is neither fined nor filtered.

ACHAVAL-FERRER FINCA MIRADOR

The 6ha Achaval-Ferrer Mirador vineyard is 700 metres above sea level in the Medrano region, on the west bank of the Tunuyán River. It is planted on relatively heavy soils but with reasonable drainage, at a density of 6,500 vines per hectare. These old ungrafted vines were planted in 1921, and yield is low, resulting in an intense purity and richness. As with the other single vineyard wines, after fermenting in small tanks, Finca Mirador is racked into French oak barrels, 100% new, where it is then aged for fifteen months. It is bottled unfined and unfiltered to preserve its individuality and freshness.

ACHAVAL-FERRER FINCA BELLA VISTA

As with all of the fincas , the Achaval-Ferrer aim for Bella Vista is to be faithful to a very special piece of land. Finca Bella Vista is 5ha in size, situated in Perdriel, on the south bank of the Mendoza river, at 980 metres above sea level where it enjoys cooler nights. It is planted on relatively heavy soils with some clay and reasonable drainage, with a density of 6,500 vines per hectare. Yields are just 14 hl/ha from old vines planted in 1910 – about one third of a bottle per vine. After fermenting in small tanks, the wine is racked into 100% new French oak barrels where it is then aged for fifteen months. It too is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Wine Spectator Nathan Wesley Recommended Argentinian wines

nathan

The wine

achevalmalbec1
achevalmalbec2

The 2013 Archaval Ferrer Malbec is at £15.95 a bottle (UK) is considerably cheaper than the single vineyard wines the bodega sells which are priced at over £80 a bottle. But it is still a great expression of the red wine grape synonymous with Argentina, Malbec.

Unlike some lower quality Malbec's this 2013 was not overpowered by alcohol or fruit and produced a sophisticated, silky smooth, balanced taste on the palate. The wine was deep ruby red with plenty of oakey and intense fruit aromas such as cherry and cassis. It was great with some good quality Brazilian beef with the moderate tannins and plummy, blackcurrant fruit with some citrus notes pairing beautifully with the barbecued meat.

For the price, really good.