Country: Argentina Region: Salta Vintage: 2019
Category: Red Wine Color: Red
The Irish Wine awards are organised each year by NOFFLA, The Irish National Off Licence Association. It seeks to find the best wines that represent value for money in the Off trade in Ireland. This years Red wine of the year was named as Kaiken's Malbec from their Terroir series. The profile of all Kaiken Malbec wines has risen hugely in Ireland in the last 2 years and this reflects the modern winemaking style that is used in making all of their wines in an approachable style. In terms of Value for money, and quality, this one's hard to beat! At just €17, it took the best in the 'Under €20' category which is also largely unheard of.
Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between...
Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.
Grapes are sourced from two regions in Mendoza – the Malbec and Petit Verdot come from Kaiken’s own vineyards in Vista Flores while the Bonarda grapes come from Agrelo. Located at high altitudes ranging from 950 – 1400 metres above sea level, these sites are renowned for producing high quality fruit displaying pure varietal characteristics.
The 2015/2016 vintage was a challenge for many winegrowers with lower than usual temperatures and considerable rainfall as El Niño exerted its effects across the region. This raised the threat of rot and powdery mildew as well as reducing the number of berries per cluster. Careful viticultural management techniques were employed, such as leaf removal. This helped to increase canopy ventilation and decrease disease and helped to expose berries to gain more uniform maturation. Despite the challenges, fruit showed good natural acidity and aroma concentration at harvest.
Fruit was hand-picked into 15kg-trays to preserve whole berries and prevent splitting. Grapes were further hand sorted at the winery to remove any diseased or damaged fruit. After pressing, the must was fermented in small tanks to enhance the varietal characteristics. Alcoholic fermentation was conducted at 26ºC for seven days, followed by post-fermentation maceration at 10ºC for approximately 15 days. Finally the wine was aged for 10 months using a combination of new and used French oak barrels.
With a deep brilliant purplish red colour, this wine has fruit notes of plums and spices such as thyme. The palate displays the silky character of Malbec framed by the structure and freshness of Petit Verdot. The finish reveals interesting notes of fresh fruit from Bonarda.