Spun from one of Argentina's most reknown wineries, we discovered Vina Alicia during one of our jaunts from Mendoza to Santiago. Three generations of working in the alluvial soils of Lujan du Cuyo, the Arizu family gave us Luigi Bosca before starting Vina Alicia. The winery is owned by Alicia Mateu de Arizu, along with one of her three sons Rodrigo. Her husband is the revered winemaker and agronomist, Alberto Arizu who operates the 105 year-old Luigi Bosca with their other two sons, Gustavo and Alberto Jr.
Alberto Arizu has owned and farmed some of Mendoza's oldest vineyards for nearly three decades, using the grapes for some of the top wines in the Luigi Bosca line. Around 1984 he and Alicia began exploring micro-vinification, making wines from not just single vineyards, but choosing specific parcels within vineyards to produce premium, small production lots. This series of trial and error evolved into Vina Alicia, focused on beautifully artisan wines derived from the most select spots on their property.
The parcels where Vina Alicia's wines are grown come from two of the family's vineyards. The first is a twenty-acre lot sitting directly behind the winery, planted to almost a dozen varieties including Nebbiolo, Cabernet Franc, and Grenache Noir, among others. The vineyard is extremely dense, with close to 4,500 vines per acre (11,000 plants per hectare), but yields still remain low.
Alberto took the better part of a decade to clone this type of Malbec until he had a small vineyard block of it. Farmed for low yields which is possible because of vine density, the grapes are picked by hand over weeks and only the most pristine clusters graduate from the vineyards. Grapes are then sorted and de-stemmed by hand using a latticework table customized by the family.
Malbec grapes on the vine
The 2007 Paso de Piedra exudes considerable depth and complexity with rich color. The nose is all black raspberry and cedar. Refreshingly well-balanced, this Malbec has layers of fleshy, dark fruit with vibrant acidity and present but lighter tannins.
Serve with cider-braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions or smoked leg of lamb.