Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.
The fruit for the Malbec Ultra was sourced from the Uco Valley. Variations in altitude and soil type result in grapes with distinct characteristics that give unique and highly complex wines. Grapes are sourced from three separate vineyards, at different altitudes: Vista Flores at 1,400 metres above sea level, Gualtallary at 1,300 metres above sea level, and Altamira at 1,100 metres above sea level. In spite of location and altitude variations, all three soil types are similar: alluvial soil with some sand and silt on top of very rocky layers that provide excellent drainage and ideal conditions to grow highly concentrated grapes.
A rain - and hail - affected vintage in 2016 made for unusually challenging conditions. It was also one of the coolest vintages on record, which had the surprising advantage of restricting the spread of rot and resulted in atypically modest alcohol levels.
The must was fermented in small tanks under optimum conditions to preserve the individual vineyard characters and qualities. After one month of fermentation, including maceration, the wine was transferred into French oak barrels, one third of which were new and two thirds of which were 2nd and 3rd use barrels. The wine was aged in barrels for 12 months and was lightly filtered before bottling.
This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with purple tones and a wonderful display of rich aromas. The nose is enticing and spicy with black fruit aromas and floral notes. Good structure and soft tannins lead to a finish that is fresh, complex and long, with fruit notes and subtle undertones of rosemary, thyme, and dry flowers.