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.
Fruit for the Kaiken Ultra Merlot was sourced from a single vineyard in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, which is over 75 years old. The vines are trained along a pergola system, which helps protect the grapes from the sun and high temperatures. The soil is alluvial, with layers of sand, silt and rocks, allowing for excellent drainage and creating the ideal conditions for concentrated grapes.
This vintage saw a very cold spring, with average temperatures well below previous years. The cold temperatures delayed bud break and flowering by 20-25 days. 2016 will be remembered as a challenging vintage due to cold weather, 700 millimetres of rain during the growing season, and a 20-day delay in reaching maturation. The vines, therefore, required a lot of attention from the viticultural team. Despite low yields (down by 40%), the grapes harvested were healthy and of very good quality.
The grapes were hand harvested at the end of March and transported in 15 kilogram trays to prevent the grapes from being damaged in transit. The grapes were then hand sorted in the winery. After pressing, the juice was fermented in small tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasted one month.The wine was transferred into barrels. One third of the wine was aged in new barrels, while the rest was aged in second- and third-use barrels for 12 months.
Intense and brilliant ruby red in colour, this Merlot delights with pronounced aromas of cassis and red berry jam, accompanied by some spicy notes. Well-structured with silky tannins, the finish is long and invites a second glass.