Sunday, June 6, 2021

Meet the producer: Achaval Ferrer from Mendoza, Argentina

Achaval Ferrer (image from their website)

A producer from Argentina who is proud of carrying on a long, ultra-centenary tradition of wine making. Many vines are ungrafted, that is they were not touched by phylloxera and therefore had no need for grafting as most of the rest of the world.

In the works of Jevgenijs Suscinskis, who guided my tasting a few days ago and whom I would like to thank here, grafted vines give you a picture of the vineyard, ungrafted ones give you a movie! A film that does not last two hours but perhaps two centuries!

Here is the result of the tasting, very efficiently organized by MyOnlineFair:

Mirador 2014
malbec 100% from old vines, some  are 70-year-old plants on own roots.
A well balanced, dark ruby, round wine with lots of energy to offer.
15 months in french oak but one does not feel the wood much, excellent freshness is still there.
Score 89.

Bellavista 2014
malbec 100% from old vines, some up to 100 years old. 
Unfiltered and unfined it shows slight deposit. Violet black and red fruits emerge in the nose make for a fresher malbec compared to the previous one. Clearly this has further aging potential. This is an expensive bottle, around 100 Eur per bottle retail. Definitely worth it!
Score 95

Mendoza malbec 2018
malbec 100%
An interesting, moderately complex blend from grapes from different altitudes. A wine where the producer tries to offer the most typicity for the variety.
Score 88. 
rrp 18

Quimera 2013
45% malbec,19% cabernet sauvignon,18% merlot 18% cabernet franc
Warm blending of grapes in oak barrels to age together, an interesting method in stark contrast with most other blends where the individual varieties are vinified separately and blended at the end, prior to bottling.
Score 88

Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
cabernet sauvignon 100%
A majestic witn with long and perfectly balanced finish, due in large part, no doubt, to the 30 to 40-year-old vines from which it is produced. The wine was still excellent even after the bottle had been opened a few days (and closed after each tasting with vacuvin), long and balanced, even harmonious.
Score 93.

One word about pairing these and other Argentinian wines. Of course you will read all over the place how they go well with local food, especially famed beef from the pampas. Which it does, but this is very restrictive for the huge potential offered in these bottles.

At Jevgenijs' suggestion, I tried a pairing some of these wines with mildly spicy southern Chinese food and was very pleasantly surprised. The moderate body and smooth finish contrasts the mild (I repeat mild! Nothing can pair with very spicy food!) spices of Hunan cuisine.

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