Category Archives: Argentina

Malbec World Day

Malbec World Day seeks to position Argentine Malbec as one of the most prominent in the world. Every April 17th, and throughout the whole month, different activities are carried out in major cities around the globe to celebrate the success of Argentina’s flagship grape. This is the perfect opportunity to shout about the inky, rich wine that is Malbec, tell your customers and open some bottles!

 

Doña Paula, Estate Malbec | 2017
Mendoza, Argentina

Winemaker Marcos Fernandez creates wines that reflect their sense of place from 100% estate owned fruit, which has been sustainably farmed and  handpicked from two of their finest, high altitude vineyard sites in Uco Valley,  Mendoza.

The cool climate allows the grapes to develop rich varietal characteristics, while retaining balanced acidity, producing an elegant and complex expression of Malbec.

 

Matias Riccitelli, Malbec ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’ | 2017
Mendoza, Argentina

Young, dynamic winemaker Matias Riccitelli deftly handcrafts wines to express the full potential of Argentine high-altitude terroir. The fusion of two vineyard sites at elevations of up to 1,400 metres brings complexity to this exceptional Malbec.

Made from carefully selected and hand-picked grapes, the cool evenings and warm days produce rich, concentrated flavours, while retaining a balancing freshness.

It’s no wonder this received 92 points from Tim Atkin.

 

Piattelli Vineyards, Malbec Premium | 2017
Salta, Argentina

The century-old vines are grown at an altitude of 1,700 metres surrounded by the stunning Andes Mountains. At this elevation the vines are exposed to intense sunlight, resulting in the grapes forming thicker and darker skins to protect themselves, and ultimately produce deeper colour and flavour concentration.

Valeria produces this exquisite Malbec, which is smooth and refined, full of rich black fruits and a touch of graphite from this cooler region.

Women In Wine

In organoleptic experiments to test the wine tasting ability of men and women, female participants consistently come out on top. Their superior palates and tasting precision are well documented in scientific papers and journals, which explains why the female success rate in the Master of Wine qualification is now higher than male.

This is now being reflected in wineries and cellars around the world as female winemakers take the helm in a traditionally male environment. We are proud to represent some of the best female winemakers in the world, and we truly believe that the wines crafted by these talented women – from Japan and South Africa to Italy and France – are some of the very best in the Hallgarten portfolio.

Lucia Minoggio, Castello di Nipozzano, Italy

Lucia’s family has always been linked to wine. Her mother, grandfather and her great grandfather were wine-growers in Piedmont. Lucia herself developed a passion for dance at a young age winning a scholarship at Balletto di Toscana in 2003 in Florence where she danced for 5 years. Meanwhile, she started studying winemaking.  In 2008 Lucia left her ballerina career, to pursue her winemaking dream. Lucia’s first encounter with wine, after her graduation in 2011, was in the heart of Chianti Classico where she worked for two years in many different sectors of production in the cellar and lab. Dealing mainly with red wines, she was introduced to the wine industry under the guidance of leading consultant winemaker, Franco Bernabei. In 2013, she travelled abroad to learn more about wines around the world which helped broaden her skills and knowledge. She started working as winemaker for Frescobaldi at the beginning of 2016.

Valeria Antolin, Piattelli, Argentina

It is hardly a surprise that Valeria Antolin became a winemaker. Her father was a famous sparkling winemaker in Mendoza and she followed in his footsteps, taking a degree in Agronomy from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo before working her way up at Piattelli. She has been with the estate since it was founded in 2002 and is now the principle winemaker at its Mendoza and Cafayate (in the Salta Province) wineries.

Samantha O’Keefe, Lismore Estate Vineyards, South Africa

Samantha O’Keefe’s is an amazing story. Berkeley-educated Samantha O’Keefe left her native California and an executive TV job, in search of a simpler life. She settled into her own sliver of paradise in the form of a 600 acre former dairy farm in Greyton, South Africa. Nothing seems to faze her, she shares her property with a troop of baboons and a leopard. She has made her mark since her inaugural vintage in 2006 with a string of stunning cool-climate wines that have wowed customers and critics the world over.

Estelle Roumage, Château Lestrille Capmartin, France

Estelle Roumage embodies this outstanding family domaine in Entre-deux-Mers, close to St Emilion in Bordeaux. Her wines are delicate and precise, and consistently punch above their appellation. She manages to blend respect for tradition with a modern outlook to vine management and winemaking techniques. On top of this Estelle has a real passion and talent for bringing her wines to our customers to share, to taste, to learn, to engage, in a way that really ignites their taste buds.

 

Sonia Spadaro, Santa Maria La Nave, Italy

Born in Augusta, on the Ionian coast of Sicily, Sonia grew up in the orange groves of Lentini, watching Mount Etna erupt. Sonia discovered the world of wine by chance and decided to start tending to the family vines and work in the cellar on the vinification processes. After graduating in economics, she completely devoted her life to wine and became the owner at Santa Maria La Nave as well as becoming a sommelier. Santa Maria la Nave is a small boutique winey on Mount Etna, specialising in wines from autochthonous varieties.

Stefanie Weegmuller, Weingut Weegmüller, Germany

Stefanie is one of the first women to have worked in Germany’s male-dominated wine industry. She has supremely mastered the technical aspects of winemaking, and – crucially – brings heart and sensuality to her work. She has been making the highest quality Pfalz wines for more than 25 years, assisted by a largely female team at the winery and behind the scenes. Her clean, pure wines have a delicate Pfalz spice and are very generous in fruit and length.

 

Chloe Gabrielsen, Lake Chalice, New Zealand

Raised in Turangi on the shores of the mighty Lake Taupo, Chloe’s early exposure to viticulture began with helping her parents pick out wine from the local store (they were fiends for a big Aussie red). After finishing College in 2001, Chloe moved to Marlborough to pursue a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree through Lincoln University, completing her first harvest at the Saint Clair Family Estate in 2006. Now more than ten vintages later, Chloe is the winemaker at Lake Chalice, producing the very best results for this superb winery… that is, when she’s not being a Mum to Asher, member of multiple sports teams, performing in Kapa Haka (Māori performing arts), being a cross-fit addict or cooking a mean kai (kiwi food)!

 

Ayana Misawa, Grace Winery, Japan

It’s fitting that Ayana makes wine in Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture from the revered Koshu grape, as her father Shigekazu Misawa is regarded as Japan’s Koshu pioneer. Ayana has studied winemaking on three continents, at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture in Yamanishi, the Faculty of Enology of the University of Bordeaux, and South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. She has also made wine at some very well-known wineries, including Cape Point Vineyards in South Africa, Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Errazuriz in Chile and Mountford in New Zealand. She has now returned to her homeland and works for Grace, one of Japan’s most prestigious wineries.

Veganuary

If there has been one buzzword in the food and drink world recently, ‘vegan’ is surely it. Veganism has skyrocketed in recent years and with it the demand for vegan wines.

Although wine is made solely from grapes, it would be wrong to assume that  all wines are suitable for vegans. To celebrate Veganuary, the go-vegan month,  we have hand-picked a selection of vegan wines from our portfolio that your customers are sure to love throughout Veganuary and beyond.

 

2015 Sauvignon Blanc ‘Eggo Blanc de Cal’, Zorzal
Mendoza, Argentina

Made by Juan Pablo Michelini, the man with the best beard in Mendoza! Cool climate new world Sauvignon Blanc made in the style of a flinty Pouilly-Fumé with minimal intervention.

Awards: 16.5 Points; Jancis Robinson // 94 Points; Decanter Magazine

 

2017 Smederevka, Tikveš
Tikveš, Macedonia

Smederevka (Smed-er-EV-car) is the most popular white varietal of the Republic of Macedonia. You must try this: while relatively low in alcohol, it is full of flavour with stone fruits, tropical fruits and zest.

2017 ‘Sophia’, Basilisco
Basilicata, Italy

A peachy little number! Luscious organic Fiano from historic Basilicata in Southern Italy, made from vines from a single hectare vineyard on ancient volcanic soils. Wonderful freshness and minerality.

2017 Zibibbo ‘Vitese’, Colomba Bianca
Sicily, Italy

This crisp, fruity Zibibbo shows lifted notes of succulent white peach combined with soft floral aromatics of orange blossom and jasmine. Bright and perfumed with a zesty citrus finish.

Although winemakers may let a wine settle, waiting for the proteins capable of haze formation to clear naturally and leaving it unfiltered, most producers will filter out these impurities through the fining process.

To do this, traditionally, a number of animal products have been used in fining through adding substances like casein (milk), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (meat) and isinglass (fish), which act a bit like a magnet drawing all the smaller particles together so that they can be filtered out. These substances aren’t left in the wine so most
winemakers manage to avoid disclosing this on allergen labelling.

However, for ethical reasons you can understand why vegetarians, and in some cases vegans, might want to steer clear.

2017 Kratoshija, Tikveš
Tikveš, Macedonia

Kratoshija (Krat-oss-SHEE-yah) is a native grape of the Republic of Macedonia and a relative of Primitivo. Sustainably farmed, this is a vibrant red fruit bomb, offering excellent value.

Awards: Top 100; Wine Merchant

2014 ‘Silhouette’, Olifantsberg
Western Cape , South Africa

Naturally fermented in open-top fermenters to encourage a lower alcohol and sulphur content. This handcrafted wine is based on Syrah, with small additions of bush vine Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre.

2017 Nero d’Avola ‘Vitese’, Colomba Bianca
Sicily, Italy

A brilliant, deep red organic Nero d’Avola from Sicily with rich, juicy flavours of ripe plum and black cherries interlaced with subtle violet notes.

2016 ‘Le Prieuré’, Château Ksara
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

A rich and spicy unoaked red made from organically grown grapes at Lebanon’s oldest winery. A blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah and Cab Sauv with supple fruit made for a hearty vegetable stew.

Awards: Silver; IWSC

 

 

For more information on any of the wines above or for our full vegan portfolio, please get in touch with your account manager.

Winemaker profile: Matías Riccitelli, Riccitelli Wines

What does the name Matías Riccitelli mean to us, Riccitelli Wines and the wine industry as a whole? We have taken a look at the great man and his back story in our latest Winemaker Profile.

Matías Riccitelli, owner and winemaker of Riccitelli Wines, was born in Cafayate, Salta, a village in Northern Argentina, famous for its wines.

After moving to Mendoza when he was a few years older, he began to study winemaking. The rest is history!

Time spent completing vintages in numerous countries honed Matías’ skills. Following this, he decided that Mendoza was the region for him and decided to focus on exploring the terroir of the region, working as Chief Winemaker for two leading Argentinian wineries.

It’s a family affair! Matías was mentored by his father, Jorge Riccitelli, the first Latin American to win Winemaker of the Year from Wine Enthusiast. Winemaking accolades run in the family with Matías winning Tim Atkin’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2016.

A keen traveller, he considers himself something of a dreamer and is now fulfilling his dream as Chief Winemaker of his own boutique winery – Riccitelli Wines – which he began in 2009. His vineyards are spread over 50 hectares and three sites within the premium growing region of Lujan de Cuyo, as well as vines in Río Negro, Patagonia. His aim is to use grapes from the most prestigious regions in Argentina and make wines in his own unique style. Matías puts his huge creative energy into creating wines with freshness and vibrancy.

Semillon, Torrontes and Chardonnay are all part of Matías’ exciting range of wines; he is hugely passionate about Argentinian white wines and believes they can retain great freshness and acidity if the grapes come from well-located vineyards.

 

For more information on Riccitelli Wines, speak to your account manager.

Malbec World Day

Malbec is Argentina’s flagship variety, and the country has the largest Malbec acreage in the world. This variety originally comes from South West France, where it is called Cot and features a hard, tannic style. Due to its intense colour and dark hues, wines obtained from this variety were once called “the black wines of Cahors.” These wines consolidated their prestige in the Middle Ages and gained full recognition in modern times.
Malbec by numbers:
  • In Argentina 3,948,716.512 hectares of vineyard are Malbec
  • 86% of all Malbec vineyards in Argentina are in Mendoza
  • In 1852, Malbec was brought to Argentina by Michel A. Pouget
To celebrate, here’s a couple to choose from our portfolio to choose from.

Doña Paula ‘Selección de Bodega’, Uco Valley, Malbec 2015

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Uco Valley
Grape Varieties – Malbec 100%

“A sumptuous and opulent wine showing rich black fruit flavours, a well textured palate with dark chocolate and earthy notes and an elegant finish.”

Andeluna ‘Altitud’, Uco Valley, Malbec 2015

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Uco Valley
Grape Varieties – Malbec 100%

“A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas red fruits and violets combined with delicate hints of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish.”

Matias Riccitelli ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’, Lujan de Cuyo, Malbec 2015

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Lujan de Cuyo
Grape Varieties – Malbec 100%

“Deep purple in colour, with beautiful aromas of wild dark fruits, vanilla and chocolate on the nose. This is a complex and rich Malbec with smooth ripe tannins and a long finish.”

Zorzal ‘Eggo Tinto de Tiza’, Tupungato, Malbec 2015

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Tupungato
Grape Varieties – Malbec 88%, Cabernet Franc 12%

“A deep, intense and complex example of a Gualtallary Malbec, with the typical aromas of chalk, flint, and mineral tones. Structured and voluminous on the palate with a silky texture, this is poised and direct, with a refreshing quality.”

Piattelli Vineyards, Trinità Grand Reserve, Lujan de Cuyo 2015

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Lujan de Cuyo
Grape Varieties – Malbec 72%, Cabernet Sauvignon 22%, Merlot 6%

“A complex, elegant wine with a deep ruby hue, Trinità tantalizes the senses with an aromatic bouquet of plum and raspberry with hints of coffee and spice, which unfolds across the palate with sweetness and a hint of chocolate. A balanced wine with ripe tannins, full body and a long finish.”

What would the experts recommend…

Doña Paula, Estate, Mendoza, Blue Edition 2016

Region – Mendoza
Grape Varieties – Malbec 60%, Pinot Noir 30%, Bonarda 10%

Terry Kirby, The Independent; “This gorgeously attractive and sumptous wine, where the fresh cherry fruits of pinot noir, as well as bonarda, are added to the mix. The slightly sweeter touch makes it a good match for a leg of lamb.”

Matias Riccitelli, Hey Malbec! 2016

Region – Mendoza
Sub-region – Lujan de Cuyo
Grape Varieties – Malbec 100%

David Williams, The Observer; “Not only has malbec from Argentina established itself as one of the UK’s favourite red grape varieties since 2001, it’s also vastly improved, with, in this case, young gun Matias Riccitelli bringing real purity of black fruit and perfumed succulence.”

 

Or something original…

Clos Troteligotte ‘K-nom’, Cahors 2016

Region – Cahors
Grape Varieties – Malbec 85%, Merlot 15%

“A modern styled Cahors with concentrated blackcurrant, menthol nuances and intriguing undertones of crystallised pineapple. Supple with soft, fine tannins, the aromas of fresh black fruits persist on the palate. Full bodied, but approachable with a textured finish.”

WOTM: Matias Riccitelli ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’, Lujan de Cuyo, Malbec 2015

Recently awarded 90 points on RobertParker.com,  ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree’ Malbec 2015 vintage is described by Luis Gutiérrez as; “more focused aromas and a silkier mouthfeel. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a light wine, it has its power and good ripeness, but the word now is balance–balance in its style to reflect the zone, year and varietal.”

In a nutshell:

Deep purple in colour, with beautiful aromas of wild dark fruits, vanilla and chocolate on the nose. This is a complex and rich Malbec with smooth ripe tannins and a long finish.

The producer:

Matias Riccitelli is the son of renowned winemaker Jorge Riccitelli. Having worked at some of the most prestigious wineries in Argentina and several vintages around the world, Matias used his experience, knowledge and passion and set up his own winery in 2009. His vineyards cover 50 hectares located in three selected sites within the premium growing region of Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. This is a young and dynamic project in which Matias is seeking to express the full potential of Argentine terroir.

 

The wine:

Meticulous sorting of the grapes was performed by hand, prior to vinification in order to select only the best grapes. A cool maceration took place over five days, followed by the fermentation at controlled temperatures of between 26 and 28°C. The fermentation took place in small concrete vats with indigenous yeasts. 20% of the grapes were fermented as whole clusters. The wine was matured in used French oak barrels for a period of 12 months.

Serving suggestion:

This is a delicious red which accompanies grilled meats, pasta with rich meat sauces and soft cheeses.

New Year’s Eve Crackers

Which fizzy tipples are most likely to make a New Year’s Eve celebration go off with a bang? Here we look at what will add some sparkle to your celebration.
Something classic…
Champagne Collet Brut, Art Déco NV

A Champagne from one of the new additions to our portfolio; a broad style  with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and savoury finish.

A real foodie Champagne that is perfect as an apéritif or served with a light game starter.

Something English…
Sugrue-Pierre, The Trouble with Dreams Brut 2013

You don’t have to go far when looking for an English sparkling wine to impress than Dermot Sugrue’s Trouble with Dreams 2013, which recently took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards.

A pure and elegant multi-award winning sparkling wine, showing lemon and apple aromas, leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and crisp acidity. Long, biscuity and absolutely delicious.

Something French…
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, Crémant de Limoux NV

As a Champagne alternative, the trend for Crémant has grown dramatically in 2017 with those who are after a fizz with a difference.

King of the Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand’s attractively styled Code Rouge has an enticing floral aroma with notes of pear and citrus,refreshing and vibrant on the palate.

This Blanc de Blanc shows great finesse and elegance and works as well as an apéritif as it does with exciting Asian inspired cuisine.

Something South American…
Doña Paula, Sauvage Blanc NV

Guaranteed to be a talking point amongst guests, Doña Paula’s Sauvage Blanc is Argentina’s first 100% Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine which shows intense aromas of orange blossom, hints of
grapefruit and an intriguing touch of mint.

An SWA Silver Medal winner in 2017, this fizz also doubles up as an amazing apéritif or served alongside rich fish dishes of salmon,
tuna or shellfish.

Something Italian…
Feudi di San Gregorio, Dubl + Spumante Greco NV

Another conversation starter, this is a traditional method sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse made using 100% Greco.

Floral and fruity aromas of pumpkin flowers, honey, mango and citrus fruits contrast with the chalky vibe of the Greco grape. A good weight on the palate combines with youthfulness and a persistent minerality typical of the terroir.

Something to kick off the event…
Quady Winery, Vya Extra Dry Vermouth & Quady Winery, Vya Sweet Vermouth

No better way to welcome guests to an event than with a pre-dinner cocktail. Quady Winery has designed the Perfect Manhattan, using two of its signature Vermouth creations.

  • 60ml straight rye whiskey
  • 15ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 15ml Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon or orange twist

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

 

A Doña Paula Dinner

During our October of Mendoza madness and amazing Argentinians, Marcos Fernandez, head winemaker at Doña  Paula Wines, hosted an Argentine inspired wine dinner at the prestigious Lansdowne Club – below is how the evening looked.

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. They practice sustainable methods in the vineyards, maximising the true expression of terroir. Their continuous innovation in vineyard management ensures top quality wines from one year to the next.

Empanadas
Beans, squash, corn, Queso Fresco
Shrimp, crab
Arepa Bites
Mango & chilli salsa, avocado cream
Chorizo & corn foam
Wine pairing: Sauvage Blanc, NV

What the guests thought: “Crispness and freshness of the wine, along with some good acidity worked a treat with the shrimp and crab Empanadas, and the mango and chilli salsa on the Arepa Bites.”

Seafood platter
Smoked salmon, prawns, crab croquette, chicory, tuna ceviche
Wine pairing: Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016

What the guests thought: “The tropical fruit flavours, passionfruit and acidity were a hit with the tuna ceviche and the bitterness of the chicory.”

Beef fillet, grilled gambas, chargrilled seasonal vegetables, basil pomme purée, sweetcorn, chimichurri salsa
Wine pairings: Paula Malbec 2016
Estate Malbec 2015
Selección de Bodega Malbec 2013

What the guests thought: “The beef fillet with the chimichurri salsa was the perfect match to the weight and power of the 24 month aged Seleccion de Bodega. The guests loved being able to taste the 3 styles side by side. The Paula – fresh and with no oak, Estate Malbec with 12 months oak, and the Seleccion de Bodega with 24 months and it’s incredible intensity.”

The overall consensus from the guests was that this was the best Gourmet evening to date at the Lansdowne Club under Karim Yousfi’s direction and Marcos, as ever, was a hit with all!

WOTM: Piattelli Vineyards, Reserve, Cafayate, Malbec 2016

In a nutshell:

A smooth and refined Malbec with a fruity bouquet of ripe plum, violet and dried berries.

The producer

The Piattelli Vineyards lie in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, where the century old vines are irrigated by the pure waters melting from the snow crested peaks; a significant aspect in making their wines exquisite. At Piattelli Vineyards great pride is taken in crafting wines with a sense of place, as each region has distinct terroirs and microclimates. Mendoza and Cafayate are two of the best grape growing regions in Argentina and they wanted to showcase both. Led by head winemaker Valeria Antolin, the wines are produced through her passionate pursuit of perfection. Their gravity fed winery in Cafayate honours their commitment to sustainable practices. Piattelli Vineyards practises sustainable farming and their Mendoza vineyards are USDA certified organic. The grapes are cultivated with arid clean air, crystal clear water and nutrient rich soil and their award winning wines are produced with wisdom, precision and love.

The wine

The grapes were hand-picked and manually sorted to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. The must underwent a three day cold maceration to extract the desired levels of flavour and aromatics. Alcoholic fermentation took place in 5,000 to 10,000 litre stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures. The wine was aged for nine months in American oak barrels. The wine received a further six months bottle ageing

The tasting note:

A striking wine with a deep purple hue, the fruity aromatics of ripe plum and violet delight the senses. Full bodied, with bright fruit flavours of dried berries and pomegranate, the palate is marked by its structure. Intense and spicy on the finish.

Robin’s Late Summer Picks

With the Autumn almost upon us, Director of Regional Sales, Robin Knapp, has been looking back at the wines perfectly suited for late summer.

From the more esoteric side of the portfolio in Greece, to the Michelini brother’s concrete eggs in Tupungato, to some Old World Italian classics, below are a few of Robin’s top picks to help your customers cling on to the last of the summer wine.

Ktima Gerovassiliou, Malagousia 2016     
Glorious aromatics, with a fresh grippy flavour with a spicy and opulent mouthfeel.

Colomba Bianca, ‘Vitese’ Zibibbo 2016     
Superb aromatics – floral and fresh.  Palate has weight, freshness and fabulous balance.

Zorzal, Eggo Blanc de Cal  Sauvignon Blanc 2016  
Edgy and frisky,  showcasing a strong struck-flint mineral intensity, combined with grassy and herbaceous notes.

San Silvestro, ‘Adelasia’ Cortese  2016    
Super fresh and fully dry with incredibly vibrant fruit.

Ocean Eight, Verve Chardonnay 2014    
A complex and mineral Chardonnay with great poise and freshness.   Up there with the best Chablis 1er Cru…

Manolesakis Estate, Exis Red 2016 
A grippy, but soft fresh red.  A fab wine that is reminiscent of Beaujolais with brilliantly earthy undercurrents.

Eden Road, The Long Road Syrah 2013           
Just beautiful. A supple, delicate and smoky wine that is not remotely typical to an Aussie Syrah.

Frescobaldi, Tenuta Castelgiocondo, Campo ai Sassi, Rosso di Montalcino 2015
A medium weight, delicate even wine, full of complex herby fruit. Has characteristics similar to Pinot Noir.

The standout wine:

Chateau Ksara, Le Prieure 2014
 What a little cracker this is! 13% alcohol with good acidity, which makes it certainly cool European in style, rather that baking hot. The blend is made up of primarily the on trend Cinsault and Carignan with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah thrown in to add complexity.

Juicy, fruity and a good level of chunky, with plenty of flavour but not an overpowering wine. Just perfect for  meats or some garlic inspired casserole!

Malbec, The Heart of Argentina

To celebrate Malbec World Day on 17th April and Malbec being the heart of Argentina we have selected a range of Malbecs that celebrate the essence of Argentina and will tantalise your tastebuds in April. 

Malbec is in the DNA of Argentina. It is grown in all the wine regions of the country, making up 35% of the hectares planted in Argentina.

 

2015 Piattelli Vineyards, Alto Molino Malbec

A vibrant unoaked Argentinian Malbec grown at high altitude, with its heady mix of plump, dark, brambly fruits, plum jam notes combined with sweet tannins and a velvety finish. The relatively cool climate gives a remarkably fine and elegant Malbec.

2014 Matias Riccitelli, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree Malbec

A marvellous Malbec with explosive aromas of dark fruits and violets with impressive purity and length. All the hallmarks of world class Malbec from the young and innovative, Matias Riccitelli.

2015 Doña Paula, Estate Malbec Syrah

A more European take on Argentine Malbec. This Malbec Syrah blend, sourced from two of Doña Paula’s best vineyards in the Uco Valley, it is refined with a herbaceous character making this wine a perfect match with red meats and casseroles.

2014 Andeluna, Pasionado Malbec – Tim Atkin, 92 points

“The top Malbec at Andeluna (at least for now) is wonderfully fragrant and full of personality. It’s a big, bold wine showing masses of blackberry and liquorice notes, underpinned by the chalky acidity that’s such a strong feature of Gualtallary reds. The oak is  increasingly subtle on these wines”.

2015 Piattelli Vineyards, Malbec

Slightly smokey, with a fruity bouquet that delights the senses and warms the palate with notes of blackberries, blueberries and lavender. The ultimate steak wine!

2013 Doña Paula, Selección de Bodega Malbec

A blend of Doña Paula’s very best single vineyard estates from older and naturally lower yielding vines, which produce wines with great depth and complexity. The Seleccion is unfiltered giving even more character and concentrated black fruit and cherry flavours with a long and elegant finish.

2014 Andeluna, Altitud Malbec – Tim Atkin, 91 points

“Showing less oak, extraction and alcohol than in the recent past, this mid-level Malbec is aromatic, fresh and subtly oaked, with plenty of colour, aromas of violets and rose petal, sweet blueberry fruit and a chalky, minerally undertone”.

2015 Oveja Negra, Winemaker’s Selection Malbec Petit Verdot

Oveja Negra or Black Sheep is someone out of the ordinary who stands out from the crowd, like this Chilean Malbec Petit Verdot. It is tremendously aromatic and offers notes of violets intermingled with fresh black fruit aromas of 91 Points blueberries and blackberries.

And here’s a couple of suggestions from John Clarke, writing for The Independent:

2013 Dona Paula, Seleccion De Bodega 

“Sometimes you need a wine to push the boat out (rather than launch it, that would be a waste). This flagship wine, from the 1.35km-high Alluvia vineyard and the (only slightly less elevated) Los Indios and El Alto ones in Mendoza, does exactly that. It’s a layered and complex, full-bodied malbec with alluring dark fruit flavours, soft tannins and an elegant, lingering finish. Can be drunk now or will keep for several years yet.”

2014 Zorzal, Eggo Tinto de Tiza Tupungato 

“What comes first, the chicken or the eggo? Actually it’s all about the Eggo, since the name comes from the egg-shaped concrete vats the wine is matured in for a year without seeing a trace of oak. The result is a bright yet structured wine, bursting full of rich, dark fruit and berry flavours that has marked it out as one of Argentina’s most exhilarating malbecs. A wine to remember.”

WOTM: 2014 Altitud Malbec, Andeluna

To celebrate Malbec World Day on 17th April and Malbec, of course being the heart of Argentina, our Wine of the Month for April is a Malbec  with a head for heights, with grapes coming from vineyards located in Tupungato, Mendoza; 1.300 metres above sea level.

In a nutshell: 

A full flavoured and robust Malbec with plum, chocolate and vanilla oaky flavours and just a hint of eucalyptus.

The producer:

Andeluna was founded in 2003 by the late Ward Lay whose family had interests in many industries and companies including Frito-Lay and Pepsico. The winery and vineyards cover 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best sub-regions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. At an altitude of 1,300 metres these vineyards produce some of the best fruit in Argentina. Their winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Enologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna’s wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers making outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the world spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The wine:

Berries were hand selected prior to vinifcation and underwent a pre-fermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C . The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, followed by eight months in bottle, prior to release.

Tasting note:

A soft, supple Malbec with aromas of figs and plums, intermingled with notes of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Sweet fruit on the palate combine with soft tannins and a long velvety finish.

The ideal match for steak, barbecued red meats or a rich lentil stew.