2014 Benmarco Expresivo Proprietary Red Blend

Year: 2014
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 90
James Suckling: 96
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :


"The one blended wine in the BenMarco line that I tasted was the 2014 BenMarco Expresivo, in this case it's 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary, from a young vineyard that gives low yields. The fermentation was completely natural, without any added yeasts, and the élevage was extended to 14 months, also in used French oak barrels. There is more influence from the élevage here, with some smoky, toasty and spicy notes over the core of violets, cherries and just a tiny herbal twist. The palate shows some abundant fine-grained tannins that point at the need to give it some more time in bottle and enjoy it with some hearty food. 15,000 bottles were filled in September 2015.

Nowadays Susana Balbo's winery, which at one point was called Dominio del Plata, uses 75% of grapes from the Valle de Uco in Mendoza, a percentage that has increased dramatically in the last few years.

There are different lines of wines--Críos, BenMarco, Susana Balbo and Nosotros. They have refined their grape suppliers and the Críos range has been produced again, as it was in the past, with only a percentage of wine aged in used barrels rather than with oak staves. I saw an improvement toward more freshness and better definition of the wines. The whites really surprised me this year." (WA)

"(aged in 100% new low-toast oak barrels): Bright medium ruby. Blackberry, bitter chocolate and violet aromas showcase the wine's sizable Cabernet Franc component. Sweet, spicy and fine-grained, with cassis and blackberry fruit flavors complicated by spices, smoky oak and dusty herbs. A very complex blend, showing much more new oak than the two varietal bottlings. The wine's lovely fruit- and spice-driven sweetness gives it early appeal in spite of its firm tannic structure. This wine was fermented in a combination of cement eggs, open-top wood fermenters, 5,000-liter cubes and 500-liter barrels. Finishes with firm, very fine-grained tannins, a suggestion of licorice and excellent length. These BenMarco 2014s show the greater tension of calcaire wines, plus a slightly herbal quality from the 2014 vintage. Incidentally, Susana Balbo has a long-term lease for this fruit; she pays by surface rather than tonnage, which is still rare in Argentina, and leaves a lower crop level." (VM)

"This is great wine with fabulous transparency and clarity showing blackberry, blueberry and floral character. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a superb finish. 80% malbec and 20% cabernet franc. A wine that gives pleasure now but will be even better in 2020. " (JS)

Winery Notes:
Wafting aromas of red currants, black cherries and mildly smoky and sweet vanilla oak. Layers of currant fruit, dense black cherry, and notes of brown spice (cocoa, nutmeg), dark chocolate, and hints of sandalwood. Keeps showing its stuff as it breathes in the glass-- for folks who want the full experience and may be a bit impatient, decanting is a good idea. Perfect balance, great concentration and length, and loaded with fine, ripe tannins for having with food or for aging. This wine should also age beautifully for 10-25 years. Pairs well with a wide range of foods including grilled steak, roasted pork loin, veal, medium-strong cheeses, and most cream sauces.