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Malbec

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Amalaya Corte Unico (Finca San Isidro) 2017 (1x75cl)

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.

This is Amalaya's flagship wine. 

The estate's vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge temperature difference of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit. The average age of the vines is 35 years old. They are trained using both pergola and vertical shoot positioning and planted at a density of 2,700 plants per hectare and 3,800 plants per hectare respectively.

Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with a perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent with almost 100 millimetres of rainfall and good sunshine hours. The lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes and a strong yield.

The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C, with maceration at 10°C for three days. Alcoholic fermentation took place at temperatures of around 24°C for approximately 21 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in both American and French oak barrels of which 20% was new and 80% second use. The wine was aged for a total of 12 months in barrel before bottling.

85% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Tannat.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy, vanilla notes imparted from the oak. This is a concentrated, fruit-forward wine with rounded, supple tannins and a long finish..

ABV = 14.5%.

£23.60

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013 (1x75cl)

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013 - fiche technique

100% Malbec.

The Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino shows a saturated dark violet color with ruby reflections; the nose offers cassis, blueberries and violets, along with a strong suggestion of soil tones. It combines density and sweetness on the one hand, with gripping, lightly saline flavors of mocha, dark berries, spice, and minerals; a palate-staining finish dominated by sweet black and blue fruits.

ABV = 14.0%.

£60.35

Colome Estate Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Value Malbec (see blue link below). 

Colome Estate Malbec 2016 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The high altitude of the Upper Calchaquí Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes as the more exposed they are to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the better they are able to generate a thicker and darker skin to protect themselves. This leads to more colour and concentration of flavour building up in the grapes. The climate here is dry, on average around 120 millimetres per year. There is a large difference (20°C) between day and night time temperatures that aids the retention of natural acidity in the grapes. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically. Fruit comes from vineyards at four different altitudes; La Brava Estate at 1,800 metres above sea level that brings ripe fruit, Colomé Estate at 2,300 that brings complexity and weight, El Arenal Estate at 2,600 that brings elegance and Altura Maxima at 3,111 that brings florality and fine grain tannins to the blend.

Calchaquí Valley enjoyed excellent conditions in 2016, except for frost in mid-October which caused a reduction of yields. During maturity, rainfall was low so there was no botrytis development, but many cloudy days gave freshness to the fruit and reduced the risk of sunburn. This resulted in fresh, healthy grapes at harvest time.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were hand sorted twice to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. The grapes were cold macerated and then fermented for 15 days with natural yeast. The must underwent two soft pumpings per day. An extended maceration period of 30 days to extract good levels of colour and tannin. The wine aged for 15 months in French-oak barrels of which 15% was new, 85% second fill. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle prior to release.

This Malbec is deep, bright red in colour with a magenta hue. It has aromas of black and red fruits including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cherries and hints of spices and well-integrated oak. Fresh and fruity on the palate with crisp acidity and velvety tannins. This full-bodied wine is delicate yet has a lengthy finish.

ABV = 14.5

£18.15

Cullen Mangan 2016 (1x75cl)

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

This wine takes its name from a single vineyard in the Wilyabrup subregion of the Margaret River. It is owned by Vanya Cullen's brother Rick and sister-in-law (Bettina Mangan) and managed by Cullen. The soils are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot are three varieties that are particularly well suited to growing in this area. In the Mangan wine, the Malbec provides the fruit power and colour, the Petit Verdot the length and texture and the Merlot the structure.

Good winter rains in Margaret River were followed by dry weather until 90mm of rain fell in January, with rainfall continuing at above average levels through February and March. Rigorous control of disease (mildew, botrytis) in the vineyard was essential. Yields were moderate, with some losses due to fruit sorting.

The grapes for this wine were hand harvested, destemmed and vinified with the emphasis on accentuating the fruit character of the grapes. Only wild yeasts were used. The wine was matured for seven months in French oak barriques, 34% of which were new. It received no additives except the requisite sulphur and was not fined.

78% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot.

Medium red with purple tinges. Ripe dark fruits, rose and violet aromas are lifted by a touch of spiciness. The palate has a very attractive blend of plummy, cherry and spice flavours. Well balanced acidity is backed by fine grained tannins. A juicy and pure fruit-driven wine.

ABV = 13.0%.

£21.05

Don David Malbec, El Esteco 2018 (1x75cl)

French immigrants David and Salvador Michel founded the El Esteco winery in 1892, taking advantage of this special region to produce distinctive and elegant high-end wines, with great concentration of colour, deep aromas and well-defined flavours.

The vines for this wine grow in deep, poor, rocky soils and get their irrigation from the Andes. There is a wide thermal amplitude with big differences (approximatelly 22° C between the minimun during the cold mornings and nights, and the maximun during sunny days). it is a very dry climate with little rainfall (120mm of rain a year, 15% humidity and 350 days of sunshine). The mornings and nights are cold and when this is combined with long hot days, it result in wines that are highly concentrated in colour, aroma and flavour with a unique fruity character.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

The grapes are carefully selected by hand and transferred to the winery. Pre-fermentation maceration takes place at 8°C in stainless steel tanks. Both native and selected yeasts are used in the fermentation process for added complexity. After fermentation, malolactic fermentation occurs in contact with oak. 70% of the wine is aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels. The final blend is made with the extra 30%, which has been preserved in stainless steel tanks.

100% Malbec.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Don David Malbec, El Esteco 2018 - fiche technique

A medium-full bodied wine with notes of cooked plums, prunes and violets. Well balanced with soft tannins & notes of red fruits & hints of chocolate.

ABV = 14.0%.

£11.10

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American signature grapes (see blue link below). 

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Doña Paula is a leading, modern winery at the forefront of exploring and investing in new, high quality wine regions in Argentina. Established in 1997, they own all of their vineyards covering 700 hectares. These vineyard sites are located in the best subregions within Mendoza including Ugarteche, Altamira, Gualtallary and Tupungato. The vineyards have always been cultivated using sustainable methods, maximising the true expression of terroir. Continuous innovation in vineyard management ensures Doña Paula produces top quality wines from one year to the next.

The grapes were sourced from two of Dona Paula's best estate vineyards: Finca Alluvia in Gualtallary, situated at 1,350 metres above sea level and Finca Los Indios, located in Altamira, Uco Valley at an altitude of 1,100 metres. The soils are stony in the first location and sandy loam in the second, but both have a high calcareous content. This Malbec displays the characteristics of its cool climate origins and the wide diurnal temperature differences. The daily diurnal temperature range is excellent for the production of quality grapes; the nightly cooling-off extends the ripening period, allowing the grapes to develop rich varietal characteristics while retaining balancing acidity. The vines are grown on espaliers, using drip irrigation and the vineyards are cultivated using sustainable agricultural practices.

2018 saw a return to higher yields, after the low yielding vintages of 2016 and 2017. Doña Paula had a record harvest in 2018, with the highest average in the province. The growing season was dry, with very low rainfall and average temperatures, which resulted in fruit with optimal ripeness. 2018 is being hailed as a classic year for Mendoza.

The grapes were hand-picked, prior to a gentle destemming without crushing the berries. A cold, pre-fermentation maceration was carried out. Fermentation took place at low temperatures, followed by a post-fermentation maceration of 15 to 20 days, extracting colour, flavour and fine tannins. The wine was then racked to first, second and third-use French oak barrels for a period of 12 months.

100% Malbec.

Intense violet in colour, this estate Malbec has enticing aromas of plums, black cherries, liquorice and spice, backed by subtle mineral and graphite notes. Great balance and freshness on the palate, with a deep concentration of ripe fruit, soft tannins and a persistent finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.40

Familia Schroeder Saurus Select Malbec, Patagonia (Neuquen) 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Patagonian Malbec Trophy, Argentinian Malbec Trophy) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Saurus Select Malbec 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

Patagonia is the most southerly wine producing region of Latin America, lying to the south of Mendoza and las Pampas. With considerable new investment, Argentinian Patagonia is fast emerging as the country`s most exciting cool climate vineyard, making elegant wines with balance and complexity in contrast to the more masculine reds of Mendoza. The region includes two important wine producing provinces, Neuquen to the west, at over 300m altitude beneath the Andes mountains, and the Rio Negro, which follows the long valley of the same name towards the Atlantic Ocean. These are semi arid, alluvial desert vineyards which benefit from constant sun and breezes that help mitigate disease. The vines are able to produce cool climate varieties including Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with good aroma and concentration as well as perfect levels of acidity.

These lands are magical - they hide astonishing mysteries! When construction began to build the winery a dinosaur was unearthed and in tribute to this 75 million-year-old giant, the name Saurus was given in tribute! Alpataco is a tyre puncturing shrub commonly found in the Monte Desert, which lies southeast of the Atacama Desert in Chile, north of the larger Patagonian Desert, and east of the Andes.

Located at 39’ latitude South, in San Patricio del Chanar near Neuquen, the Schroeder vineyards are planted on gravelly soils and - combined with warm days and cool nights - provide near perfect conditions for grape cultivation. This is a distinguished range of wines with intense aromas and elegant tannins, well structured and with the best characteristics of each vintage.

Grapes were hand-picked and thoroughly selected. 40% fermented and aged six months in oak barrels. The other 60% was fermented and stored in steel tanks, this blend seeking to achieve a fine equilibrium of complexity/richness and fruit density.

This Malbec features an intense dark purplish red that shows maturity. On the nose it is complex - ripe red fruit aromas such as currants, plums and sour cherries melt with some spicy hints. Due to ageing in oak casks some vanilla, bitter chocolate and coffee notes are shown. The mouth-feel is pleasant and well balanced. The long, lingering finish is dominated by sweet, velvety tannins.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.50

Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Located in the high altitude Tupungato Valley region of Mendoza, this modern winery benefits from a long, cool growing season and strong UV sunlight that helps maximise the aromas and complexity of the resulting grapes. Tupungato sits at the western extreme of Mendoza right at the foot of the Andes mountains with an elevation of 1,200 meters giving benefit to the vineyards from a much cooler climate, abundant sun, and sharp contrast between day and night temperatures. When all the above is combined it allows the winemaker the opportunity to produce wines with utmost expression. Wine consultant Michel Rolland (from Bordeaux) has added his expertise to this project and in the last few years since launch the range of wines have received numerous awards and accolades.

100% Malbec.

To see Finca Sophenia's own excellent information for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£24.95

Perfiles Malbec Calcareo, Trapiche 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintagewas awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their on-line October 2017 review (see blue link below)

Perfiles Malbec Calcareo, Trapiche 2015 - Oct 2017 Decanter review

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. Led by Daniel Pi, their Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is in this way that Trapiche has become Argentina's largest fine wine exporter.

The vineyards for the Calcareo, as one might imagine, have a calcareous soil profile, and lie at more than 1,300 meters above sea level. Fighting to survive in these unique, extreme conditions, the vines have developed a resistance that results in robust, vibrant wines.

The fruit for this wine is harvested by hand following a process of careful bunch selection. After destemming, the juice undergoes fermentation initiated by natural yeasts in small concrete vats for a period of 15-18 days at 23°-25°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels of 60 hl capacity for 6 months.

The tannins play a huge role in this wine´s profile. It is bursting with flavour with a balanced delicious length. This demonstrates how Malbec responds to different soils in nearby vineyards - to be compared with Trapiche's Perfiles 'Textura Fina'. Grown on limestone, this has more lifted, floral aromas, alongside toasty oak. The texture is more delicate and satiny, and yet it still displays fine concentration and length.This Malbec is very full of structure, flavour & intensity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.75

Perfiles Malbec Textura Fina, Trapiche 2018 (1x75cl)

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. Led by Daniel Pi, their Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is in this way that Trapiche has become Argentina's largest fine wine exporter.

The fruit for this wine is harvested by hand following a process of careful bunch selection. After destemming, the juice undergoes fermentation using natural yeasts in small concrete vats for a period of 15-18 days at 23°-25°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels of 60 hl capacity for 6 months.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

100% Malbec.

This demonstrates how Malbec responds to different soils - here, it's from vines grown on fine textured soils, rich in clay and silt - to be compared with the Perfiles Calcareo. Grown on clay soil, this has lovely creamy damson flavours, beautiful velvety texture and lovely lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.65

Santa Ana Reserve Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

Santa Ana was founded in 1891 by Luis Tirasso, an Italian immigrant and a pioneer in the development of winemaking in Argentina. With over 120 years experience in the wine industry, Santa Ana winery was one of the first to be founded in Argentina. All along, innovation has been their determinant attribute, as well as a key element to positioning themselves before the ever shifting consumer preferences. Technology and state-of-the-art winemaking techniques are driving forces for the company at present and signal their future.

Hand selected bunches are picked from superior quality vineyards within the Bodegas Santa Ana estate in Cuyo, Mendoza. Vines are planted on deep and stony soil. After de-stemming, the bunches are crushed and the juice is fermented (with seleted yeasts) with extended skin contact, beginning in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. 50% of the wine is finished/aged in both French and Americal barriques/barrels, a proportion of which are new. The wine is bottled after filtration and cold stabilisation.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

100% Malbec.

Dense purple in colour with bright brick red highlights. Powerfully aromatic, showing concentrated stone fruit aromas such as plums and prunes with a hint of spicy oak. The palate is medium to full bodied with a stylish balance between dense black fruit flavours, tightly knit fine grained tannin and judicious use of oak. Finishes firm and grippy - perfect for drinking with red meat! Sweet aromas of blackberries and plums are enhanced by subtle vanilla notes. Good structure and velvety texture, with soft tannins and long length.

A great partner to red meat dishes, particularly when a rich sauce has been used. Try it with a slow braised lamb shank with parsnip puree for example.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 13.5%.

£10.75

Terroir Series Finca Coletto,Trapiche 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Argentina: My Top 25.

Terroir Series Finca Coletto,Trapiche 2015 - April 2020 Decanter review

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first of their fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has certainly earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. True to its origins, today Trapiche continues to seek out and use the latest and best practices available. Led by Daniel Pi, Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. 

Hand harvesting is carried out and the grapes for this wine are transported back to the winery in 20 kg plastic cases. There is meticulous bunch selection before the grapes are destemmed. Only the best grapes are selected for inclusion. Fermentation takes place using only wild yeasts and maceration occurs in small concrete vats over 25 days, at 23-25ºC. Natural malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur.

The wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels.

100% Malbec.

Aromas of black cherries and forest berries such as blackberries and blueberries. This wine is full bodied with juicy black fruits, soft tannins and an elegant finish. This is a Malbec with a deep and intense red-violet colour. The aromas are of red fruits, plums, black cherries and forest berries such as blackberries and blueberries. It is fresh and full as it enters the mouth, with sweet, juicy, ample tannins and a very elegant finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£28.15
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