[WINE REVIEW] Argentina’s Achaval-Ferrer 2009 Malbec Mendoza

[review]  Terroir is everything when it comes to wine. The ‘sense of place’ or the very beginnings of where a wine starts is so integral to the structure of a glass of truly fantastic vino that people search for decades before finding the perfect spot for the perfect grapes.

Argentina is one of those perfect places that is often overlooked…the potential in certain areas is astronomical, and oenophiles everywhere are starting to pick up on that. One of our favorite new wineries out of this South American Napa Valley is Achaval-Ferrer, a boutique winery focusing on the production of excellent quality red wines, which are of superior character and style, belonging to the group of the great wines of the world.

They are all about discovering the ‘soul’ of the wine, selecting the best combination of soil, weather and vine stock. The Achaval-Ferrer dream started in the late 90’s and was based on two solid principles: the search for quality in all of their products and the respect for the terroir. The team at Achaval-Ferrer realized the possibilities in Argentina with the extreme personality of its soil, the opulent solar irradiation and the rarity of old vineyards on native rootstock, almost exclusive in the actual wine world. It’s a passion project that has translated into incredibly passionate (and delicious) wine.

Winemaker Roberto  at the Achaval-Ferrer vineyards
Winemaker Roberto at the Achaval-Ferrer vineyards

Roberto Cipresso, renowned winemaker and specialist in small production and high quality wine in Italy, was granted total freedom at Achaval-Ferrer to work “to allow each vineyard its best expression in wine”. That way, their wines have a seal of the brands work philosophy which includes searching to raise the quality of wine, removing grape clusters in all of the estates at the time of veraison (“green harvest”).

The small scale of the estates permits a manual grape harvest, in small boxes, done in the first hours of the morning. The winemaker authorizes the harvest only when the fruit reaches full maturity in sugars, aromas and tannins. During the winemaking process, special attention is given to improve the extraction of colors and aromas. When sufficient maceration has depleted the skins, the wine is immediately racked to small 225 liter oak barrels.

The stunning vines at Achaval-Ferrer in Argentina
The stunning vines at Achaval-Ferrer in Argentina

The result of that meticulous and passionate winemaking is the 2009 Malbec Mendoza, an intoxicating powerful Malbec with an addicting finish. Mendoza means sun, mountain and river, such as this young powerful, fresh and velvety Malbec. From a formidable unique landscape, this Argentine wine completes the Achaval Ferrer Winery trilogy.

Intense, pure, full colours and young aromas. This wine totally completes the vision of Malbec. It really emphasizes the characteristics of the vineyard and the insiginia variety of Mendoza.

Roberto told us “Our objective is to preserve the vertebral column of variety as the first step of a trilogy that continues in ascending stairs with Quimera – a design wine – and Finca Altamira, Finca Bella Vista and Finca Mirador, through which we showcase the expression of terroir. We took special care to preserve the necessary balance between wood and fruit without losing its spontaneity.”

Step outside your comfort zone and unwind mid-week with a bold and bright Malbec – it’s perfectly powerful.