(2017) A certified organic Malbec from vineyards at 1200 metres altitude in Mendoza, this is a lovely expression of Malbec's floral, Parma violet-scented personality, kirsch like black cherry fruit and a touchy of meaty reduction. On the palate it is really juicy and vivid, that black fruit core ripe and sweet, but with a liveliness to the cherry skin acidity and tug of tannins. With a moderate 13% alcohol it also feels unforced and balanced. The Chocolate Officer's match here is with a milk chocolate flavoured with fig, smoke and pink peppercorn. It's one of the more subtley flavoured chocolates in the range until, that is, you crunch into a peppercorn. Then the wine and chocolate combination really sings, quite luxurious and balancing sweet fruit and peppery spice. Wine price is for a half bottle.
(2016) A top-end Chardonnay from the Uco Valley, aged eight months in French oak, this is elegant, restrained and rather European in style, with a soft vanillin sheen of almond and oatmeal, then lots of creamy apple fruit. The extra slippery texture and touch of sweetness sets it more as Southern hemisphere in terms of luscious ripeness, but the acidity stays firm and tempered in a very nice wine. £17.99 as part of a mixed six.
(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) From Tupungato, and made from 100% organic grapes grown at 1,200 metres and aged in oak for 10 months, this is a powerful, concentrated wine with flinty, complex sulphide notes, some buttery weight and decisive fruit, the great palate concentration balanced between opulence and freshness. A fine Argentinean Chardonnay.
(2016) From Gualtallary, this spends 6 to 8 months in barrels. Melon and citrus, a touch of something perfumed and floral, a touch of oatmeally richness too. Lots of limey fruit, a burgeoning hint of more tropical, peach and nectarine, and then a very nice acidity, the merest hint of minerality against the apple and citrus.
(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 the southerly Los Indios vineyard in Uco at 1100 metres altitude, this is 60% Malbec, 30% Cabernetnet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah that is aged 12 months in new French oak. The Cab adds a lot of black fruit cassis depth, but then so does the gentle char and chocolate of the oak. The palate has a lovely fresh acidity, real spark of cherry skin grip and energy. This does not appear to be available in UK retail.
(2016) From Gualtallary in Uco at 1350 metres, 50% Cabernet Franc, 45% Malbec, 5% Casavecchia. 12 months in new oak. Just the merest hint of menthol or olive, but it is plush again, and has a little herby note against the chocolate plushness. A delightful raciness of the red fruit skin acidity against dry, chocolate tannins, and the sweet fruit persisting. A very nice wine again. A little more meat and tannin than the 1100.
(2016) From the Los Indios vineyard in Uco just 2000 bottles are produced. This wine is fermented in oak after a careful fruit selection, and aged 16 months in new French oak. It has a meatiness and plummy richness, plenty of spicy and creamy polished oak. There is a little lift, a little dark violet hint, but in truth I miss the little extra light and shade of the 1100 or 1350. The palate is chewy and rich, a lot of fruit, a fair amount of oak, and it has great length. Deep, sinewy, but perhaps could use just a little more light and shade. The 2010 is in the UK at time of writing.
(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.