Like many wine lovers I suppose, the wins of Argentina hit my radar after those of Chile. Most likely, that has a lot to do with them penetrating the US market a bit later. That said, these days I drink and enjoy the wines of Argentina as much as I do those of Chile. There is a sense of place in the better made Argentine wines that really hits my sweet spot. While other varietals certainly flourish there as well, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are the first two that come to mind for me. As I mentioned yesterday Kaiken is Montes Wines Chilean operation. I'll look at their Ultra Malbec today and their Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon tomorrow. The 2006 Kaiken Ultra Malbec is 100% varietal. All of the fruit is from Mendoza. 80% of the wine was aged in French oak for twelve months. 32,000 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $25.00.
Black raspberries, plum and light vanilla fills the nose of this wine. The palate is loaded with sweet, rich, dark berry fruit and an undercurrent of spice notes. The finish has some dusty cocoa notes, a hint of chicory and a touch of tingly white pepper that hits the back of the throat on the way out. This wine is balanced by good acidity. It will be an excellent match for full flavored foods such as marinated, grilled meats.
What I like best about this wine is that it's a classic example of Malbec. It's intense, and full of bold fruit, but never over the top. This wine should improve over the short term (3-5 years) and drink well for several after that. While there are many Malbecs on the shelf well under this price point, the quality of the Ultra by Kaiken, along with its ability to age for several years, easily justifies the extra dollars.
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