Here is a roundup of a few South American wines tasted abroad. These wines continue to impress. Most are available in Australia, with the honourable exception of the first one. Naturally, of course, that is the wine that I would most wish to buy.
Clos de los Siete Mendoza 2011, Argentina
This is another good release from Clos de Los Siete by Michel Rolland. A blend of 56% malbec, 14% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon, 12% syrah, 4% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot, it is perhaps more simply summarised by identifying the red grape varieties that are not in the blend. Its aromatics remind of dark cherry, licorice and well handled cedar and spice characters. A ripe impression is given, without crossing the line. The palate is balanced, full bodied, with smooth and rounded length. It is filled in by dark cherry and plum characters. A delicious wine.
Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: C$25, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.closdelossiete.com/en/, Tasted: 2015
Valle Las Acequias “Malbec Oak” Mendoza 2010. Argentina
A 100% malbec from 85 year old wines is a good start. The wine though is described as “Malbec Oak 2010”, which sends a rather odd signal. The back label continues the theme, describing its flavour as “Strong tannins, sweet and gentle thanks to the contact with the Oak“. That’s a capital “O” for oak. So, should the consumer expect a lot of oak in this wine? Should I be worried if it didn’t say oak? There is pride in this oak. In the glass, for the record, the oak was handled well. The rest of the wine though is a bit “dry reddish”, by which I mean it is pleasant enough although it could have been any old red in the glass. Aromatics of blackberry jam, and a balanced palate and medium length complete the picture.
Rating: Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: C$24, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: n/a, Tasted: 2015
Los Vascos Grand Reserve Colchagua 2011, Chile
I found this a bit of a disappointing Los Vascos Grand Reserve from the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) stable, an estate I otherwise hold in high regard. It has that typical Chilean tomato stalk nose (terroir, oak regime or something else, I am not sure?), supplemented in this case by a pongy, sweaty character. The palate is balanced, if somewhat formless. Only an average wine, I am afraid.
Rating: Acceptable, Abv: 14%, Price: C$24, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.lafite.com/fr/les-domaines/vina-los-vascos/, Tasted: 2015
Norton Privada Mendoza 2011, Argentina
Another blend from a South American producer, which suits me rather well. This time malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. This is one of those good well made wines, although the alcohol on the label (as opposed to its impression in the glass) is getting up there. Aromatics of blackberry, ripe plums and plum jam. A palate that is balanced and a textural fruit driven finish. A good wine.