(2020) Argentina does Cabernet Franc very well as a rule of thumb, this from two vineyards at 950m and 1,120m elevation, fermented with wild yeasts and spending 12 months in oak barrels. Plush, deep and filled with polished black fruit, there's a tug of earthy spices too, then the wine surges across the palate with sweet-edged blueberry, damson and black cherry, smooth and silky with its oak-polished tannins, and the acidity nicely judged. A serious bottle of wine at its £10 offer price in Tesco unil 2nd january 2021, even better if you buy before the 16th December in England with the 25% off six bottles deal. Could take on roasted fowl, game or beef. Maybe decant this one for an hour before serving just to open it up some more.
(2018) Selected grapes from the Uco Valley in Mendoza are hand-picked from high altitude vineyards for this bottling, which is aged in French oak for 18 months. Though aromatically not a million miles from the standard Malbec in the range, there is an extra ounce or two of concetration evident, a touch of spice and chocolate from the oak and with swirling a lovely violet lift to the aroma. In the mouth the wine is a much more seductive proposition, the creamy sweetness of the ripe black fruit melting into the vanilla and spice of the oak, more refined tannins for sure, and a nicely balanced finish where some pert black cherry acidity pushes through.
(2016) I visited Chakana at the start of this year and was impressed by their organically grown wines. This is Bonarda, quite common in Argentina, from vineyards at 960 metres altitude, and made here with some oak ageing. The nose has bacon fat and smokiness, mellow mulberry and dark plummy fruit, quite gamy and deep but there is a Sandalwood note of lifted fragrance. In the mouth it is full and rich, a nice sweet/sour balance from the fruit and grippy acidity and tannins, the oak adding a little tobacco and cedar layer to the finish.
(2016) Ten months in 2nd and 3rd year French oak. Fruit from Uco. Nice creaminess and spicy black fruit plushness, but there is a little hint of floral character too. Suave, polished and creamy on the palate, with a coffeeish depth, and very nicely creamy tannins and acidity.
(2016) From their oldest vineyard in the south of Lucan de Cuyo. Fine smoky character from ageing in old barrels for 10 months gives savouriness and spice, but the fleshy black plum and blackcurrant is delicious. The palate has richness of black fruit, good acidity. A lovely Cabernet.
(2016) Nice hint of softness to the colour and the rim. A touch of gravy browning, but there’s a pleasing floral cherry and violet lift to this too. A hint of briar adds Pinot complexity. The palate has a lovely rich red fruit juiciness but also spice and warmth earthiness, the finish of fruit and spice. No UK retail at present.
(2016) All French oak, but none of it new. El Alto vineyard fruit: 60% Malbec, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot 3%. Real peppery and herbal lift to this, a blue black fruit with fine violetty lift, the oak creamy but quite supple. The palate it plush and velvety, with lots of red and glossy black fruit intermingling, and a spicy finish with enough grippy tannin.
(2016) Very nice lifted aromas, certainly showing plenty of the fruit and herby/floral character, plenty of fat black fruit, that comes through to the palate with a depth of fruit sweetness and gloss, the palate a little bit of weight and juiciness, a touch harsh just in the finish, the tannins and acid a little grainy, but a wine that needs a little time perhaps.
(2016) A touch dusty and gravelly, with tight black fruit. Dry and savoury palate, a black olive dryness and savouriness, with really mouth-coating, dry tannins. Feels as though it needs some time, as those dusty, grippy tannins dominate the finish.