Vina Alicia Las Compuertas Malbec 2019
“Black cherries, coffee and roses follow through to a medium to full body, fine tannins and long, creamy-textured finish. Nicely crafted. Drink or hold.” James Suckling
91pts James Suckling
Hand harvested in 25lb buckets to prevent berry damage. In the vineyard – first, after flowering, all poorly set (or formed) bunches are discarded. Then, after veraison, bunches that have not colored up sufficiently, are cut loose. The theory is that the plants should channel available energy into the best bunches only. What ultimately arrives at the winery, then goes through berry sorting. A cold maceration for 2 days takes place before fermentation begins. Post ferment maceration follows, and is maintained for roughly a week, to enable thorough tannin and polyphenol extraction, crucial for wine longevity. Once alcoholic fermentation ends, the wine is settled in new French oak
barrels for malolactic fermentation. When this stage concludes, barrels are emptied and cleaned and then the wine is kept in these same ones for 12 months. Before bottling, the wine is kept for 60-90 days in a “cold chamber” at very low temps for stabilization, before it is then bottled without filtering or fining. Finished wines remain in bottle for at least 12 more months, before being released to the market.
From the moment you step onto this property, you realize this is a very special place. As you walk the vineyard with Alberto Arizu Snr, and he pauses to show one of the rogue Malbec vines that mutated a few years ago to form a different species of DNA, found nowhere else on earth, it hits you – this property is where Malbec first found its true home in Argentina. Many have made claims about their storied history with this grape but none can boast the oldest Malbec vines in production, planted in the 1850’s. Set on the banks of the Mendoza River, this sandy vineyard offers a brutally tough existence for these vines and yet they thrive here and have done for over 150 years. Using old school winemaking techniques, with only the best fruit off this vineyard, small batches of Malbec are hand crafted each vintage to the appreciative audience who know they are drinking a piece of wine history.