September brings Argentina's Achaval-Ferrer to the Protocol Wine Studio #WineStudio with a heavy diet of Malbec from their three signature vineyards listed by altitude: Mirador, Bella Vista, and Altamira. Last year the winery celebrated their 20th birthday and have achieved many accolades during the recent years. In 2012 the Bella Vista Vineyard 2010 was selected among the World Wide TOP 10 by the yearly publication of Wine Spectator. The following year their “Fincas” line consisting of Altamira Vineyard, Mirador Vineyard, and Bella Vista Vineyard are the Top 3 Wine Spectator ranking of Argentinian wines. These awards are a result of the respect that Achaval-Ferrer has for their single-origin vineyards and the overall Mendoza region. Their wine is also available in over 70 counties, yet these aren't simply fruit forward international styled wines. In fact, they are complex Over the course of the monthly session I received two samples below:
Achaval-Ferrer Malbec 2014 ($25.00) - 100% Malbec sourced from the three main vineyard with altitudes ranging from 3,150 to 3,600. The fermented wine is aged 9 months in French oak barrels. This is a savory Malbec, both juicy and dirty where the spicy leathery nose is similar at the tail. Expect a medium tannic finish.
Achaval-Ferrer Quimera 2012 ($34.99) - This is a Bordeaux styled blend with 50% Malbec, 70 year old vines from Medrano and Luján from Cuyo; 24% Cabernet Franc, from Tupungato; 16% Merlot from Tupungato; 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, old vines of Medrano and Tupungato; 2% Petit Verdot. Predetermined blocks are harvested for this wine and then fermented. After fermentation the winery selects the best barrels from each grape variety, blends them, and ages 12 months in French oak barrels. The bottle's back label includes all the technical notes and recommends to decant one hour before serving. I followed that recommendation. There's plenty of dark fruit in this wine, followed by a heavy dose of chewy spices. It carries some dirt and tobacco; structured, balanced, and acidic. And the finish lingers.... Nicely done. Much more complex then your standard 100% Malbec. Reminiscent of Geo Gonzalez in his prime, throwing a diet of curve balls then a deadly fastball for the K. Cheers to Achaval-Ferrer, Protocol Wine Studio, and Argentinian Malbec.