(2022) From the French winemaking family Fabre, who have been operating in South America for decades, this comes from 30-year-old vines in Rio Negro and spent a year in French oak barriques. Chocolatey and creamy on the nose, there's plenty of plush oak but also a depth of black fruit, very classy, the marriage of freshness and tang from the acids and tight tannins against the weight and creaminess.
(2018) Not a million miles away from that other great medium-sweet, gently sparkling wine style, Moscato d'Asti, here Torrontes presents a fragrant bouquet of wild flowers, nettle, orange and peach, before a palate that has plenty of sweetness and a light, gossamer mousse, before bright mandarin orange acidity balances the finish. Very unusual, great for Christmas morning with a mince pie, or with Thai cuisine.
(2015) From relatively cool Patagonia in Argentina, hundreds of miles south of Mendoza, a handsomely packaged Sauvignon Blanc that comes from barren desert vineyards. This is Sauvignon in a much more European rather than Kiwi style, the nose flooded with citrus and flinty, stony minerals with just hints of the leafier character and some cool stone fruit and lime. In the mouth it is richly textured with its 14% alcohol, but that biting clarity continues, touches of leafiness, hints of tropicality, but driving through with that core of lemon, apple and salty ozone character. A fine Sauvignon.
(2010) 8.0% ABV, cork. Made with an all-natural infusion of Patagonian strawberries in a sparkling base of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel. The wine pours a deep crimson pink, and has lifted aromas of strawberry and a touch of patchouli, leading onto a palate where the strawberry flavour persists but sits nicely within quite a crisp, elegant acidity and the wine staying fresh and breezy to the finish. There's got to be room for fun products like this in the sometimes serious world of wine surely?
(2008) 90% Malbec, 10% Merlot. No new oak in this cuvée, only second and third fill barrels. Nice oak on this, with a fine, cedary character. Fruit is delicate, with a red fruit and a very fine smokiness. The palate has very pure, racy red fruit character, just backed up with an integrated delicate oakiness. Good persistence and juiciness, and the creamy oak just adding depth.
(2008) J. Alberto is named after Noemia's brother and father. 95% Malbec, 5% Merlot, a field blend form the 1955 vineyard. 30% New oak. Much meatier, richer nose, with more fragrance from the fruit and oak. The palate has some dry, mouth-coating tannin, but the florality and beautiful persistence of the fruit comes through powerfully, with a gorgeous acid and tannin axis adding superb freshness. Delicious and very long.
(2008) Bottled the day before I tasted it. Massive chocolaty quality to the fruit, but that beautifully honed black fruit and raspberry freshness comes through. The fruit sweetness is terrific, with a coffeeish oak coming through and plenty of freshening acidity and tannins. This needs time to knit, but has fantastic black sweet fruit and beautiful structure and length.
(2008) 100% Malbec. All from the same 1932 vineyard, only 3,000 bottles can be produced. Hans went through the vineyard marking each of the Malbec vines to identify them. Only natural yeasts, and each berry de-stemmed by hand. Beautiful nose, flooded with cedar and truffle, with plenty of sous-bois, ripe, rich chocolaty berries and a touch of iron-filings. Beautiful nose. Gorgeous palate too, with a bloody streak of gaminess, and a beautifully refined, svelte black fruit. Coffee and chocolate intermingle with silk, ripe tannins in a seductive wine.
(2008) Fantastic nose, with such elegant, Bordeaux-like blood-streaked, gamy black fruit, with hints of minerality and earth. The palate has delightful sweetness with extraordinary ripe, deep, very mouth filling melange of the copious ripe fruit, and all that bloody, fine minerality. Delightful elegance here, and a delightful balance again, with a long, long finish.
(2008) Very, very tight, with much more intense, mineral, but beautifully expressive Malbec nose of floral-edged, kirsch-like black plum and cherry. The oak is sweet and vanillin, with hints of mint and chocolate. The palate has a real intensity too, with a svelte blue-black raciness, lots of kirsch and taut fruit against Sandalwood and mellow coffee and earthy flavours. Terrific acidity, and very dry tannins, giving this power and structure, though perhaps not quite the finesse of the earlier vintages.