Matthew Jukes, Money Week, 11.03.11
Pioneering winemaker Hervé Fabre moved to Argentina in the early 1990s and bought some of the oldest Malbec vineyards in Mendoza which were planted in 1908. His mission: to make exceptional Malbec wines as he recognised the grape’s true potential. These vineyards are located in the Lujan de Cuyo area just south of Mendoza city which has now been recognised as a high quality producing area. These vines produce some of the finest Malbec in Argentina and indeed the world. These grapes produce the Viñalba Gran Reserva Malbec.
The vineyards sit in the foothills of the Andes so they are still relatively high up around 900m above sea level where there is plenty of hot sun in summer but the cooling winds coming down from the mountains mean the grapes don’t over ripen or burn. The altitude is similar to the vineyards where the Reserva Malbec grapes grow but here in Lujan de Cuyo these vines are much older, currently most are around 60 years old so they mean business. They are tough gnarly vines that have worked hard for many years and produce wines with incredible structure and longevity. The ageing potential for these wines is better than any of the other wines.
For the Gran Reserva Malbec 2009 the harvest took place in late April 2009 when the grapes were at their most ripe. In the last few weeks before harvest Hervé tastes the grapes every 2 days to determine exactly when the grapes will be ready. As soon as the moment comes, they are hand harvested and hand sorted not only once but twice to select the best bunches. The grapes then undergo a slow fermentation for around 25 days and then all of the wine is put into new French oak barrels where it stays for 12 months. Then it’s bottled and will be stored for around 4 months before it’s released. This gives the wine a bit of ageing in bottle so it can settle and gives it a bit of time for all the flavours to develop.
Available at Majestic Wine stores across UK £12.99 (when you buy 2).