Alberto Arizu Snr is one of the most respected vignerons in Argentina. To be in his company, talking about wine and walking through his vineyards, is a memory to cherish. Their home vineyard at Vina Alicia serves as a nursery for 50-60 different species of grape, under vine at any given time. Experiments are run with as few as 50-100 plants, and for as long as 10-12 years per section. The vineyard is like a proverbial patchwork quilt and it is unlikely that the average industry person has even heard of some of the different grapes they have planted here. Information about each grape’s performance as a plant and ultimately as a wine is cataloged and then shared with the industry. Over the years, the Arizu family (otherwise known as the Mondavis of Mendoza) have found certain grapes and/or wine styles to be to their liking and have produced a small production wine from them. Tiara is such a wine. Ethereal and mystical. Crisp and clean while being textured and complex. Sophisticated while being extremely whimsical. Utterly delicious!
Always made in tiny quantities, the current release, the 2018 Tiara, has beautiful fruit purity and cut on its medium bodied frame. The nose offers a plethora of citrus and green apple notes which transfer over into the palate. Flavors of taut lime and green apple are crisp yet have enough textural viscosity to offer an engaging palate presence while the acidity keeps this clean, driven and focused, leading to a long, persistent, dry finish. Drinking well as we speak this should continue to show impressively over the next couple of years.
93 pts Descorchados
92 pts Robert Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate (LG) The unusual white blend 2018 Tiara is 50% Riesling, 40% Albariño and 10% Savagnin with 13% alcohol. The blend fermented in stainless steel, where it was kept with fine lees until bottling. I hadn’t tasted this characterful white for a very long time, a white produced in the style of a Riesling or Albariño, fresh, light aromatic and floral. It has notes of white fruit and flowers, with a pleasant bittersweet sensation in the palate, tasty, balanced and fresh. 2,500 bottles were filled in October 2018.
90 pts James Suckling – This has attractive aromas of fragrant lemons and limes, turning to very fresh, zesty apples and limes on the crisp, focused palate. A blend 50% riesling, 40% albarino and 10% savagnin. Drink now.
Harvest – By hand. The grapes are placed in small 12kg receptacles when the grapes have reached full maturity and richness. The harvest is performed at dawn, providing coldness to the fermentation.
Winery – The third grape selection takes place on fixed tables, where imperfections of every grape due to dryness, over ripeness, and damaged fruit are removed one-by-one.
Vinification – The selected grapes pass through a mechanical or manual de-stemmer, depending on the type of varietal, and afterwards the grapes pass through a wooden hydraulic press. The pressing is soft and slow, in order to achieve a good extraction of the juice. This juice goes into stainless steel vats, which are in a chamber at 15 degrees centigrade, which is the fermentation temperature Following the fermentation racking is done and the wine remains in stainless steel vats for a period of one year. Bastonages are done periodically in order to be in contact with the wine and its fine lees.
Bottling – A minor filtration is performed before bottling, in order to maintain its cleanliness.