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Clos de los Siete 2016
This big and bold Argentinian red is the masterful work of flying winemaker Michel Rolland who is part owner of the Clos de los Siete winery in Mendoza. Clos de los Siete is set at the foot of the majestic Andes mountains where the high altitude vineyards help to capture varietal purity and ensure optimal ripeness for the grapes.
Born into a winemaking family and following a glittering career including stints at many of Bordeaux’s top chateaux, Michel Rolland first visited Argentina in 1988 and immediately recognised the winemaking potential of the Mendoza region. Rolland then partnered with the late Jean Michel Arcaute, another top Bordeaux winemaker to found the Clos de los Siete project combining top quality fruit from four bodegas, Monteviejo, Cuvelier los Andes, DiamAndes and Bodega Rolland.
This cuvee is a complex composition of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot which combine harmoniously to produce a smooth, full-bodied red with plenty of rich dark berry and plum notes. The intense and concentrated flavour profile make this a great match for red meat dishes like steak and frites, hearty beef stews or barbecued meats.
Edmond de Rothschild Flechas De Los Andes Gran Malbec 2017
Flechas De Los Andes was born in 2003 out of a collaboration between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault who joined together to found a top winery in the foothills of the mighty Andes mountains. The winery is named after the five arrows or “flechas” in Spanish that are the symbol of the five brothers of the Rothschild family who are known for founding some of the world’s most prestigious wineries in France and beyond.
The winery is located in Mendoza where the high altitude vineyards and sunny summer days are ideal for premium winemaking. Well-draining sandy and gravel soils combined with the cooling breezes from the Andes and higher elevation ensures that the grapes reach maximum ripeness while retaining plenty of freshness and aromatic complexity.
This sumptuous Malbec is made from top quality grapes which are harvested by hand and vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The young wine is then aged in a combination of tanks and oak barrels for 12 months to add complexity while preserving the pure varietal character. The result is a rich full bodied wine with plenty of luscious dark berry character, smooth tannins and a long finish.
Catena Zapata Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Argentina’s most famous winemaking family, the Catenas have been making wine since 1902 and played a key role in the development of the country’s modern wine industry. Today the estate is run by the fourth generation of the family represented by Laura Catena who has spent decades studying the potential of Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards with her father, Nicholas Catena Zapata.
Catena Zapata specialises in high mountain wines grown at altitude at the foot of the majestic Andes Mountains. This Cabernet is a blend of four different vineyards, Agrelo, Villa Bastias, Altamira and El Cepillo, which sit at 950-1120 metres above sea level. The altitude helps to create a perfectly-balanced red wine with deep ripe berry flavours, smooth tannins and a firm structure. The young wine is aged in oak barrels for 12-14 months to add subtle spiced notes and extra complexity.
On the nose there are intense notes of cassis, black cherry and plum while the first sip reveals a generous full body, soft tannins and a long finish with hints of cigar box spice. The robust flavour profile makes this a great match for steak or barbecued red meats.
Mendel Unus 2017
This stunning Malbec is primarily crafted from top quality fruit from Finca Mendel, a historic single vineyard site which was planted in 1928 around the Mendel bodega. The plot sits at an altitude of 900 metres above sea level which helps to preserve aromatics and freshness in the fruit while the age of the vines ensures rich and concentrated flavours. Small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are also added to the cuvee to add extra weight and complexity.
Crushed blueberries, cassis and dark plums define the nose along with hints of dried violets while the first sip reveals a generous full body, very smooth texture and firm tannins that will respond well to further cellaring. The wine has been aged in oak barriques for 15 months which adds hints of cloves and cinnamon as well as attractive toasted notes on the long finish.
Built in 1928, Mendel is one of Mendoza’s oldest wineries. In 2002 it was bought by the Sielecki family who have partnered with top Argentine winemaker Roberto de la Mota. The winery’s philosophy is to craft European-inspired wines with ample elegance and ageability and a distinctively Argentinian soul.
El Esteco Michel Torino Altimus 2015
Argentina’s northern wine region of Salta is known for its magnificent spicy Malbecs. The terroir here is distinctly different from the classic Argentinian region for Malbec, Mendoza, since Salta boasts the highest altitude vineyards found anywhere on the planet. El Esteco occupies a dramatic setting in the Calchaqui valleys where the desert conditions and 1800 metres of altitude produce incredibly pure and concentrated fruit which is bursting with aromatic complexity.
Named after the Latin word for “the highest”, Altimus is the estate’s flagship wine which is crafted from the finest of grapes each year by winemaker Alejandro Pepa. The blend typically consists of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc which are harvested at night to preserve the aromas and freshness. The young wine is aged in small French oak barrels for at least 18 months to bring harmony and polish to the finished bottling.
On the nose there is an abundance of ripe plums and berries along with violets which are a common feature of red wines from high altitude vineyards in Salta. The palate is very smooth with soft ripe tannins, a well-built structure and luscious dark fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue. A fantastic partner for a prime steak or hearty beef ragu served with fresh pasta.
El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2016
El Enemigo is a thrilling Argentinian project founded by Catena Zapata chief winemaker Alejandro Vigil and historian Adrianna Catena who is Nicolas Catena’s youngest daughter. Their wines capture their shared passion for history, philosophy and literature, offering rule-breaking and romantic expressions of some of the world’s greatest grape varieties with a distinctive Argentinian twist.
Their cool climate Cabernet Franc grown at altitude in Mendoza’s spectacular vineyards at the foot of the Andes is particularly inspired. The bigger brother to this wine, Alejandro’s El Gran Enemigo Cabernet Franc was awarded the highest score ever given to a pure example of the variety by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.
Grapes for this bottling are sourced from vineyards in Gualtallary which sit at between 1400 and 1470 metres above sea level. These unique conditions help produce a remarkably intense, powerful wine with perfect poise and balance thanks to the cool summer nights and long ripening season. The young wine is aged for 16 months in 100-year old Alsatian founders or large oak casks which were imported from Italy. The result is a stunningly beautiful red with luscious dark berry flavours, smooth tannins and a very long, spicy finish.