96 pts Descorchados
94 pts The Wine Advocate – In addition to the 2013 vintage, I also tasted the exceptional 2014 Brote Negro, the following vintage of this wine to be sold in some months. Trying to improve the wine in this vintage, they did a stricter selection of the grapes and produced a smaller quantity. So, a super selection of grapes resulted in some 1,200 bottles of their top cuvée. The result is a more aromatic and floral red, with a velvety texture, more elegance and very good freshness, even after the cooler 2013. It feels that, even if the vintage was not easy and there seems to be higher ripeness here, the result was worth the selection. It was bottled at the end of 2015.
90 pts James Suckling – Tons of licorice character here, which is unusual for malbec, but also plenty of ripe plums and bitter chocolate, making this a generous, slightly sweet malbec with just enough healthy tannin to balance. Drink now.
Viña Alicia, Las Compuertas (Luján de Cuyo)
The Arizu family have been grape growers and viticultural pioneers in Argentina for 5 generations. Think of them as the ‘Mondavis of Mendoza.’ They own the oldest producing Malbec vineyard in Mendoza –planted over 150 years ago – the Las Compuertas vineyard. About 15 years ago, random plants in this vineyard underwent a spontaneous transformation and came out of the dormant season as a new species of DNA seen nowhere else on earth. DNA analysis confirmed the uniqueness of the rogue, mutant vines which other than being different, were perfectly healthy. Each year since then, more random vines throughout the vineyard have made the transformation – just less than 1% of the total vineyard has transformed. The remaining 99% of the Las Compuertas vineyard is managed and harvested in 2 main sections. One part for Las Compuertas Malbec and the other for Paso de Piedra Malbec. The rogue vines are kept separate and used to create roughly 150cs of a wine called Brote Negro – The Black Shoots. Matt Kramer (Wine Spectator Magazine) called this “the benchmark for Argentina”. This is a tiny piece of wine history – drinking it is a rare privilege.
Winemaker Tasting Note: It is a deep crimson wine, with aromas of fresh fruit and taste of licorices, damson plum, violets, raspberries and touches of vanilla, raisins and spices.