Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A rival for any wine anywhere? Achaval Ferrer

Marcelo Victoria from Achaval Ferrer was over last week to show us the Malbec 2008 and the Quimera, Finca Mirador, Finca Altamira and Bella Vista say it was on of the best in house tastings we have done would be no exagerration.

Achaval Ferrer is a truely wonderful wine estate. . The focus is very much on exceptionally old pre-phylloxera Malbec. We tasted all the wines under Marcelo's guidance and tutorledge.

Malbec 2008 - Rich and full but with strawberry yoghurt like fruit. This developed into fruits of the forest. The palate had good structure but was not OTT. Really good stuff!! Drink as soon as it arrives then over the next couple of years.

Quimera 2007 - The only Acahaval Ferrer wine that isn't 100% Malbec (38%Malbec, 24% Merlot, 24% Cab Sauv & 14% Cab Franc). Massively big but also elegant, mulberry, bramble and lots more, spicy texture kept in check by the generous fruit. Good acidity and freshness with a superb length. The overall impression is ripeness not sweetness. Give it a year then drink at your leisure over the following decade.

The Single Vineyards - all produced at a crazy 12-15hectolitres/hectare which for anyone who doesn't think in hectolitres (who does?!) is a bottle per 3 vines!! The wines all see 12-14 months oak.

Finca Mirador 2007 - Takes me more to Italy than Argentina in many ways. Kissed with oak, real richness but with very smooth and beautifully balanced tannins. The fruit character is very hard to define (a good thing in my book as obviously is not so interesting). "More flowers than fruit" as Marcel puts it. This will last well but the tannins are so ripe that you can drink it early. I would try a bottle in 2011 and take it from there.

Finca Altamira 2007 - Planted in 1925 the highest of the single vineyards. Bigger and bolder than Mirador. The palate is fresh (a signature of all the wines) and more aromtaic. A little more forward. Softer structure and more approachable than Mirador. Delicious, start drinking in 2-4years.

Bella Vista 2007 - The oldest single vineyard. Planted in 1905. 2005 & 2006 Bella vista was lost to hail. Richness and coffee on the nose, the most savoury. Dark chocolate shows too. So soft and succulent but again well structured. Start drinking in 2-4years

There was a dinner the following evening where the Quimera 2003 and Altamira 2002 were served from magnum.....both were stunning and show that this estate is making truely worldclass wines...try them and see.

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