2010 Achaval-Ferrer Quimera

Year: 2010
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
Price :
$34.95
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"An elegant red, displaying racy cassis, raspberry and spice notes backed by fine tannins and fresh acidity, as hints of dried flowers and spice highlight the minerally finish. Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2017. 5,500 cases imported." (WS)

"The 2010 Quimera is a blend of 27% Malbec and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon alongside Petit Verdot and Merlot, raised in 40% French new oak for 14 months, the remainder one year old. It has a complex, almost “mulchy” bouquet: one that evokes undergrowth and tertiary aromas that are well-defined and cerebral. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, slightly chewy tannins surrounding a core of blackberry laced with licorice and a hint of star anise. The finish is focused and taut, bestowed with an extremely fresh citric finish. Old World meets New – with style. Drink 2014-2022.

Achaval Ferrer should need no introduction to anyone with a passing interest in Argentinean wine, a paradigm of how far the country has progressed over the last decade. In 2011, founders Santiago Achaval and Manuel Ferrer sold a large percentage of shares to the SPI group that owns Stolichnaya vodka as well as shares in Tenuto d’Ornellaia and Frescobaldi, although both Ferrer and Achaval remain on the managing board. Instead of visiting the winery (which I intend to do in the future), I tasted wines past and present with Santiago in London, where I was afforded more time to plot the wine’s development in the glass. The tasting was no revelation, since I have encountered and appreciated the wines for many years. They are well-crafted, very pure and stylistically equidistant between Old World and New. My reviews will seem meaner and the scores more parsimonious than might be anticipated. It simply reflects where I see the wines in the context of such a comprehensive overview of a dynamic country – great wines for sure and very consistent, but perhaps others have stepped up their game? The older vintages have certainly held up well, although a demanding connoisseur would expect more in the way of secondary aromas and flavors to replace the lost primary ones." (WA)

Winery Notes:
Achaval Ferrer is located in the foothills of the Andes in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. The region’s desert climate and soil conditions are ideal for the development of Malbec and other red varieties. Low yields, significant thermal gradients (warm days, cool nights), poor alluvial soils, low rainfall, high altitude and the pure Andes irrigation water, all work together to mature grapes that can be transformed into complex, deep and structured wines made by famed winemaker, Roberto Cipresso.

Varieties:
A Blend of 40% old vine Malbec from Medrano and from Luján de Cuyo, 22%, Merlot from Tupungato, 20% old vine Cabernet Sauvignon from Medrano and from Tupungato, 14% Cabernet Franc from Tupungato and 4% Petit Verdot. The average yield per plant was less than two pounds, equivalent to 1.3 tons per acre or 18 hectoliters per hectare.

Production notes:
The winemaking team worked in the vineyards in search of different aspects for each variety. These were thought of as parts of a complex wine, in such a way that the total is more than the sum of the parts. The location of the vineyards, the age of the plants, the viticultural program and the irrigation schedules, all worked towards the same goal. Once in the winery, each variety underwent primary fermentation in a small tank. The early blending is a risky practice, but helps towards a seamless integration of the varieties, a wine with only “one soul”. The result is a wine that is not just the sum of three varietals, but another milestone in the search of an ideal. That is the explanation of the Quimera name: an impossible goal, but one worth working for.