Misterio Malbec 2011
Very soft and oaky yet quiet. Plum and pomegranate, juicy tight soft tannins with hints of savoury meat.
Caballero de la Cepa Malbec 2011
Toasty burnt ochre, spiced plum and cranberries. Soft and mellow, juicy plumpness, freshness and brightness.
Gestos Malbec 2011
More perfumed but darker brooding chocolate notes. Sweet oak tannins, generous full fruit but still fresh.
Expressiones Reserva 2009
Earthy dusty dark fruit, juicy blackcurrant. Good texture and weight, some interesting complexity from oak and the cabernet fruit, full but not too heavy, malbec softens tannins.
Paisaje de Barrancas 2008
Purple and intense, dirty dusty earthy old vine style. Intensity of fruit, tannins bold but not oppressive, very clean precise and balanced lines, depth without complexity.
Chalkier dustier floral aromas. Very soft smooth and voluptuous tannins, layers of velvety fruit, not as hot or dense as previous wines.
Finca Flichman tasting
For my (unfortunately) final day in Mendoza, I visited three wineries; two similar, one different. The first was established back in 1901 (the year of Australia’s federation!) by a Spaniard, who named the winery Bosca. It became Luigi Bosca for reasons I can’t quite fathom, but they had something to do with marketing. I’m not sure how the addition of Luigi helps, considering he was the dud Mario Brother… Anyway, the cellar is very large and historic, combining Mendoza cement fermenters stainless steel, 5,000 barrels for maturing the wines, and a fantastic museum area where the 12 pillars of the cross are reimagined as the life cycle of wine and Luigi Bosca. The winery produces in excess of 8 million litres of wine each year, covering 35 different wines. No mean feat for the consultant winemaker Roberto de la Mota, who you may remember is the winemaker at Mendel. I was taken through part of the winery and part of the range of wines by Soledad, from the hospitality department. She picked a few wines to show me, and you can read my notes here.
In case you weren’t already aware, the Mendoza wine region is large in area and volume. Covering an area about the size of the entire Murray Darling Basin, and producing more wine than Australia and New Zealand combined, there are a lot of vineyards. There are also over 1,200 wineries, equivalent to all of Australia, and a range of different viticultural areas. The main difference between these areas is elevation, ranging from 800m to 1500m above sea level. The Uco Valley, 1.5 hours South of Mendoza city, is one of the more elevated and newer viticultural areas in Mendoza, and it was here I visited the only winery of the day. The reasons were two-fold. Firstly I didn’t realise how far away the winery was, and secondly because it was difficult to find and I took several wrongs turns. Worth the drive though, even in the blistering heat with virtually no air conditioning. It was also amazing how the Andes are so clear in the morning and you can see the snow-capped peaks, yet by the afternoon the clouds and fog has set in and they are almost invisible.
Once in a while if you are really lucky you have a wine-related experience that fills you with such joy and yet regret that all wine can’t be like that. One of the things that makes these experiences so singular and invigorating is that they are always unexpected. I had one of these experiences in Mendoza today, and never thought it would happen here of all places. I think this was why it had such an impact on me. Getting slightly ahead of myself…
Carmelo Patti presses
Mendoza gets pretty hot. Wanna know I found this out? The cheapest car I could rent (which isn’t that cheap) has really bad air conditioning. As I drove south from Mendoza city for another day of visits, I was very worried that I would get noticeable sweat stains on my shirt. Similar to Casa Lapostolle in Chile and Newton in Napa Valley, I was familiar with Terrazas de los Andes from my days at Domaine Chandon Australia, as they were part of the group. Having tried the wine and learning a lot about the brand, it was pretty mandatory that I visit to experience it personally. Through a connection back at home I used to work with, I was able to arrange a visit to the winery, which didn’t even come close to disappointing.
Old press at Terrazas
With absolutely no disrespect at all intended to Chile or any of the wonderful people I met whilst there, it was such a relief to be leaving considering all of the issues with getting around and making it to wineries on time. When I dropped off the rental car I tried to explain the complications with the GPS, but was met with general indifference. I was a little frustrated at the lack of WiFi in the terminal, as I could have got a bit of work done whilst I waited for my flight, which was late. Once we were up in the air though, none of it mattered; I was on my way to Mendoza and I got to enjoy views like this (albeit for only 25 minutes!)