Argentina’s Wines Enter the World Stage

The title of Stephen Tanzer's article on Vinous Argentina’s Wines Enter the World Stage says it all. The country is producing "refined, aromatically complex and vibrant wines than ever before – bottles that should satisfy even hard-core fans of classic European wines." Tanzer continues, “Thanks in large part to the discovery and exploitation of favored sites in Uco Valley, there are more wines than ever before from specific growing areas, if not single closely defined sites.” From Salta to Mendoza to Patagonia, discover Argentina, Malbec and beyond, with a case-full of wines reviewed by Stephen Tanzer.

Bodega Catena Zapata

White Stones Adrianna Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Delectable Wine
9.4

(from vines at an altitude of about 4,800 feet, on soil rich in white stones and gravel): Bright, light greenish-yellow. The ineffable nose offers a wonderfully complex blend of white fruits, flowers and minerals. Dry, tight and light on its feet, with its pear, mineral and baking spice flavors a bit compressed in the early going. A distinctly vertical wine but also quite deep. Finishes very firm and long, with terrific salty pungency and slowly building lift. This needs more time in bottle to expand, like so many of the best wines from the 2016 vintage. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Peter liked this

El Enemigo

Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014

Delectable Wine
9.4

(13.9% alcohol, with a pH of 3.5 and 7.2 grams per liter of acidity): Saturated bright, dark ruby. Knockout perfume of dark berries, black cherry and licorice lifted by a pungent chalkiness. Compellingly juicy and sharply delineated, with outstanding saline mineral lift giving this wine an almost magically light touch. Finishes with firm but suave tannins, serious energy and palate-staining floral length. This remarkably refined, weightless wine, made from 30-year-old vines and the saltiest of this set of single-vineyard Cabernet Francs, should evolve slowly and gracefully, and I would not be surprised if it ultimately merited an even higher score. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018) — a year ago

Bodega Catena Zapata

Argentino Mendoza Malbec 2015

Delectable Wine
9.3

(made from old vines in La Consulta and Lunlunta): Bright medium red. Knockout nose combines black fruits, licorice, minerals and savory soil tones. Compellingly intense and alive in the mouth, conveying terrific sappy energy and cut as well as a distinct creaminess to its dark berry and dark chocolate flavors. I love the combination of sweet and salty elements here. Still quite unevolved but the very ripe, subtle, rising finish and mature tannins suggest that this wine will evolve positively for another decade. This was aged in all-new 2,000-liter oak ovals, mostly from Stockinger. It has more stuffing than the 2016 but will it offer as much complexity in the long run? (One of the two sources for this fruit, the Angelica vineyard, actually includes a bit of Sémillon, which is co-fermented with the old-vines Malbec.) (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Bodega Chacra

Barda Patagonia Pinot Noir 2017

Delectable Wine
9.0

(from vines planted in 1990): Bright medium red. Subtly pungent scents of strawberry, raspberry, spices and herbs. Juicy red berries and herbs dominate on the adamantly dry, penetrating palate, with a note of rose petal adding lift. A distinctly peppery, herbal, red-fruit style of Pinot Noir with a fine dusting of tannins that will not get in the way of early enjoyment. Not at all thin or lacking in length. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Familia Zuccardi

Finca Piedra Infinita Malbec Blend 2015

Delectable Wine
9.5

(this wine represents a blend of ten different soils from this property; fermented in concrete, then aged in 80% concrete and 20% used barriques): Bright ruby-red. Sappy, highly complex aromas of currant, plum and tobacco are complicated by a suggestion of soil. A wine of compelling richness and sweetness as well as superb inner-mouth lift, with urgent crushed boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors accented by a violet note. Wonderfully suave wine with an impression of weightlessness. Finishes broad and unflagging, with fine-grained tannins reaching the front teeth. There's a lingering salinity here from the shallow rocky, chalky soil. Splendid! (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Deborah liked this

Achával-Ferrer

Finca Altamira Mendoza Malbec 2015

Delectable Wine
9.3

(14.3% alcohol; from vines on alluvial soil): Bright, full ruby-red. Some exotic coffee and mocha oak notes complement aromas of blackberry, blueberry, plum and minerals; at once a bit liqueur-like and slightly reduced. Ripe, plush, utterly seamless wine with a restrained sweetness and superb breadth to its dark berry, nutty oak, herb and spice flavors. Finishes very long and youthfully tight, with suave tannins, an element of medicinal reserve, and lively notes of spices and flowers. The least fruity and most soil-driven of these single-vineyard wines in 2015, and built for a slow evolution in bottle. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Terrazas de Los Andes

Cheval des Andes Mendoza Malbec Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.3

(14.6% alcohol; just 15% new oak; 100% from estate vines, about three-quarters from the rockiest portion of the company's Las Compuertas vineyard and the rest from Altamira): Bright ruby-red. Very fresh black and blue fruits, menthol, spices and licorice on the nose and palate, complicated by mint, minerals and medicinal herbs (the Cabernet Sauvignon is apparent here). Still a baby but already displays a Malbec juiciness and firm underlying structure. Suave in texture, offering noteworthy delicacy and clarity. Winemaker Lorenzo Pasquini cut back substantially on new oak in 2014 (he normally uses 30% to 50%) and used only French barrels. Not a large-scaled wine but refreshing, suave, complex and intense, with lovely cut. Finishes with excellent spicy length, round tannins and hints of licorice and black olive. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Viña Cobos

Cobos Marchiori Malbec 2015

Delectable Wine
9.5

(14.8% alcohol; made from selected blocks of the estate's oldest vines; aged for 18 months in 100% new oak): Bright saturated ruby. Wonderfully intense aromas of blackberry, cassis, bitter chocolate, graphite and licorice pastille. Then pure and explosive in the mouth, conveying outstanding creamy density without any sloppiness or undue weight. A floral element gives this seamless wine a penetrating character. Totally different in texture from the foregoing wines; this is more refined. Finishes with very suave, silky tannins and superb length, with a touch of medicinal reserve suggesting that it will age gracefully even if it has the balance to offer early pleasure. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Trapiche

Iscay Malbec Cabernet Franc 2013

Delectable Wine
9.3

(15% alcohol; the wine's Malbec component comes from a 1998 planting in Gualtallary, the Cabernet Franc from Altamira): Saturated ruby. Knockout vibrant nose combines dark berries, licorice and violet; already conveying a strong impression of personality. Densely packed and intense but quite fine-grained, offering terrific delineation to its flavors of crushed black fruits and violet. This very backward wine finishes with serious but suave tannins, terrific length and excellent energy and cut. I'd like to revisit this in six or seven years, at which time it may merit an even higher score. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018) — a year ago

Bodega Colomé

Auténtico High Altitude Vineyards Malbec 2016

Delectable Wine
9.2

(from 100+-year-old vines planted at 2,300 meters; made without oak): Saturated bright ruby. Pungent, pure, primary aromas of candied blackberry, black cherry, cassis, bitter chocolate and spices; conveys a superripe, even slightly figgy hint of thick, sun-drenched skins without loss of focus. Just as backward on the palate, with its kirsch, cassis and dark chocolate flavors complicated by violet and mineral components; shows increasing creaminess and depth with time in the glass without losing its penetrating quality. Finishes with firm tongue-dusting, well-buffered tannins and slowly mounting length. Some outstanding 2016 reds were made a world away in Uco Valley, but very few of them can match this classically dry Salta wine for texture. I give this an edge over its 2015 sibling for its more obvious definition and stronger impression of acidity. I love the "rawness" of this wine and its purity and complexity. (Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2018)
— a year ago

Kai liked this