Growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Mendoza is no joke – it’s hard work. Not because it doesn’t ripen, but because it ripens too fast, if you’re not paying attention. Cooler sites are important, as is the correct clonal selection in the vineyard. Alberto Arizu Snr. is a fastidious farmer and plant scientist. He is otherwise known as the “Mondavi of Mendoza” and the country of Argentina owes him a debt of gratitude for all his viticultural pioneering that has helped lay the foundation for their commercial success. Morena is the result of many decades of experimental plantings and winemaking R&D. Today he has 5 different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon under vine on this property, each contributing a different element to the finished wine. He learned years ago that Cab Sauv, in this part of the world was better served with the inclusion of a small amount of Cab Franc, and so he has 2 clones of that planted in this vineyard. The best way to describe this wine would be to suggest that it tastes like a quality left bank Bordeaux property, got together with a benchmark Napa Valley property, and had a baby!
94 points Descorchados
91 points James Suckling – “Currants, sweet tobacco and cedar follow through to a medium body with fine tannins and a medium, fresh and fruity finish. Hints of burnt lemon and currant at the end. 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc.”
Viticulture in this vineyard is practiced without fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides – only natural products
are used, together with biological pest control & controlled surface irrigation with mountain water (rich in minerals and sediments). Harvest is carried out manually in 25-30 lb crates to avoid berry damage. By harvest, the vines have undergone two bunch selections: the first after flowering and the second at veraison. Upon arrival at the winery, the third bunch selection is carried out manually on sorting tables to separate immature, dry or withered grapes, before destemming takes place. A lengthy maceration, lasting 25-30 days, then follows in open tanks. Fermentation temperature is 86-90°F to enhance anthocyanin extraction. “Pumping up “ and “Punching down” procedures are performed daily. Fermentation and maceration of all 7 components of this wine are carried out separately, given the different maturity points. Once alcoholic fermentation ends, wine is racked to 100% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. Following this stage, barrels are cleaned and wines are returned for 4-5 months more, to develop character. Then the “assemblage” is done and the final cuvee is returned to barrel for 10 more months. The wine is then moved to a “cold chamber” for 60 days, at very low temperature for stabilization, before being bottled without filtering. Bottle ageing lasts a year before market release.
88% Cabernet Sauvignon (5 clones); 12% Cabernet Franc (2 clones)
The “San Alberto” vineyard is in Lunlunta at 2800 feet above sea level. Planted in closely spaced rows, with very short distances between vines, this system makes roots search for nutrients in depth, fully extracting the best of the soil. Vine density is 11,300 plants per hectare. At this density no more than 3 bunches per vine. In this vineyard we can find all 7 clones that are incorporated in this wine. 5 different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon + 2 of Cabernet Franc. Yields average around 2 ton/acre. Temperature averages are 72°F during summer and 110°F in winter. Annual rainfall is less than : not more than 8 inches. Soils are alluvial, with some layered chalk, limestone & clay – this allows roots to stay healthy and breathe freely.