Opened with meals this week (Bob, did you ever get to the 03 Gran Vino?):
2000 Cavas de Weinert Reserva Malbec 13.5%
100% Malbec. Cherry, plums, leather and tobacco. Excellent acid/sweet balance, fine texture, satisfying body. Simply delicious, and equally notable for what’s not there. I comment to Marcia that it tastes like an ideal (not point-driven) cru bourgeois Bordeaux. She disagrees, saying that “Bordeaux is a Chilean thing,” and “this has a bit too much sweetness and jamminess to be Bordeaux.” Anyway, more evidence that grapes can be picked in Mendoza at less than super mature levels without green tannins.
2002 Cavas de Weinert Gran Vino 14.5%
Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Three years in French oak barrels. Plumbs the depths of plum jam with a herbal note, and it’s about thyme. Strong alcohol and powerful tannins interfere with the proper detection of acidity, but overall there’s a military-industrial complex of confrontational yin forces to all together balance the comforting yang of sweetness. Oak is present, luckily not egregious, so pleasure is only truly inhibited by ripeness beyond the point of no evaporation. Uncomfortably close to the dark side for a Weinert. They must be hearing the call of Mammon.
2003 Achával-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec Mendoza 13.5%
One of the most highly celebrated and pointy Argentine malbecs. Ungrafted vines, over 40Y old, aged 13M in new French oak. Elegant and serious blackberry and menthol aromas with a slightly metallic edge and a touch of epoxy. No oak in the aromas, but it can be tasted; as well integrated as the civilized alcohol. Quite tannic, with a bitter finish that lessens with food. Considerable acidity tingles the sides of the tongue, but tastes somewhat separate. This has way too much class to be an oaky and alcoholic fruit bomb, but the regal manners were more admirable than enjoyable. This gave more pleasure in its youth.
We know for a fact that old-style Argentine wines like Lopez and Weinert age well. Observers, professional critics and wine shop owners make predictions about how new-style Argentine wines will age, but the truth is that nobody really knows. None of those from point inflation bandwagon have reached the ten year mark, and it's possible that the trade-offs required to make them taste approachable young could make them fall apart with time. I'm holding a few from 02/03 to taste in 2012/13. To be continued!
"I went on a rigorous diet that eliminated alcohol, fat and sugar. In two weeks, I lost 14 days." Tim Maia, Brazilian singer-songwriter.