A short note this time. Domaine Henri Milan was created in 1956. When Henri took over in 1984 there had been used excessive chemical treatments for many years, and he saw on other solution than to change into organic farming. In recent years the domaine has released one magnificent wine after another.
This wine is a typical fresh, young one, can we say somewhat Beaujolais inspired. 100% mourvèdre grapes were fermented in two separate tanks. One underwent carbonic maceration, while the other had a more traditional treatment. Then the two were blended before bottling. Mourvèdre typically accounts for heavyweight, robust wines. In this case it’s 12% alcohol (the previous vintage was 11), fresh and easy.
Nouveau Mourvèdre 2021(H. Milan)
Cherry red, blueish hue. Smells of red berries (raspberry), herbs and black pepper. Simple and juicy, yet with a soft touch of tannin, a touch of “carbonic”, and an energetic acidity.
This wine is, like last week’s selection, from our recent tasting of Argentine wines. The name is Blanc de Noir, a well-known expression from Champagne denoting white wine from black grapes. Here the producer has admitted a tiny amount of colour to get through.
We have been used accustomed to the thought that good (some would think: all) Argentine wines come from Mendoza. But El Esteco is found in Cafayate, a small town in the Calchaquí Valley, province of Salta. We are in the very northwestern corner of Argentina, at an elevation of 2.000 meters, with poor alluvial soils. The marked temperature ranges of the valley encourages a long maturation period.
The grape is pinot noir, grown in a finca called Chañar Punco and harvested by hand in the early morning hours, whole bunches pressed very lightly and slowly, and elevated in steel. Truly fascinating!
Blanc de Noir 2020(Bod. El Esteco)
Light salmon pink with a touch of onion-skin. Delicately fruity, of medium intensity, of redcurrant and some herbs. A bit glyceric and tannic in the mouth, yet fresh acidity shines through.
BodegaChakana delivers at a generally high overall level. So also their so-called entry-level malbec, where the price is next to nothing. (Read about another of their wines here.)
Chakana is a family owned winery located at 960 meters altitude up towards the Andes in Agrelo, Mendoza. It represents a new generation of local terroir-conscious winemakers. The name of the project is what the indigenous people in the area called the southern cross constellation (Crux).
This is how the bodega describes the naming: “Chakana is believed to hold the key to finding the perfect timing for the cultivation and harvesting of crops – a calendar, compass & symbolic link between earth and spirit. On May 2, 2002, the Chakana reached perfect vertical position in the sky, marking the beginning of a new farming cycle. It was then that Chakana’s founder Juan Pelizzatti chose its name for his winery, paying homage to the Incan understanding of and respect for nature.”
Winemaker is Gabriel Bloise, who has experience from both Europe and Australia. The farming at Chakana can be described as biodynamic, with spontaneous fermentation, natural acidity, minimum or no sulphur, and the wines are never clarified nor filtrated.
Their vineyards are orientated 45 degrees north west to maximize fruit expression. According to themselves this is “a surprising example of synchronicity, as this is the exact route that the Andean development chose”. This is called the Viracocha line, or the “Line of Truth” of the Incas.
For Chakana this planting direction was chosen for best canopy protection of the grapes during the highest temperatures of the day.
For this wine 60% of the grapes are from Luján de Cuyo in Mendoza and the rest from La Rioja (some 600 km to the north). The grapes were cold-macerated for 3 days, then fermented in steel and cement 15 days.
Malbec 2018 Organic Wine(Bod. Chakana)
Dark cherry red, blueish hue. Fruity, mature dark berries (blackberry), plum, some spice. Juicy yet a bit carbonic in the mouth, with soft tannins, firm and slightly bitter finish with a slight (and pleasant) touch of vinegar (maybe in lack of a better word).
Food: Many types of meat, also red, grilled and slightly spicy, roast duck, casseroles
An all time favourite, you can read a little background and a review of a previous vintage (under its former name) here.
In short Nero d’Avola (30%) gives colour, frappato red berries, spice and some herbal character. The wine is made in the most natural possible way. Spontaneously fermented in cement with 15 days skin-contact. Further ageing jo cement for 6 months. Unfiltered.
SP68 Rosso 2020(Arianna Occhipinti)
Quite dark, young and blueish. Cool aroma, red berries (cherry, raspberry), flowers, herbs. Luscious, fruity, with some tannin and a fresh acidity.