2008 Goulart Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Mendoza

Goulart Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Mendoza Argentine Malbec is hot, scorching hot. But why? For every deeply concentrated, wonderfully textured Malbec, there are a bevy of wannabes with fancy labels and pedestrian flavors. There's a distinguishing feature to all the exceptional wines. All are made from old vines, often very old vines. The problem? There are all too few old vineyards left.

Sometimes low bottle prices have unseen consequences on viticultural history. Such is the case in Mendoza, where much of the old-vine fruit was planted close to town -- and the vineyard land was worth more to house builders than grape growers. As a result, much of the old-vine plantings are gone, and the younger stuff just doesn't have the stuffing we're looking for.

Last year we were introduced to a counterexample, a highly scored Goulart Reserve, made from vines -- the result of an improbable discovery -- planted in 1915. Sales took off like a rocket ship, and the glowing consumer reviews have been pouring in ever since. When we tasted Erika Goulart's 2008, we found a denser, richer version of the 2007, a wine with wonderful deep purple/anise aromas, and mid-palate opulence. Finally, a sensibly priced old-vine wine that really explains why there's such a to-do over Argentine Malbec. We reserved all she would give us.

Why didn't Erika sell out like many others? For Erika, there was more to her old vines than money. In the 1990s, while digging through old documents in her husband's Buenos Aires study, she discovered title to a small property, owned by her grandfather-in-law. She immediately booked a trip to Lujan de Cuyo, where she discovered 75 acres of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The family, now taken with the project, engaged top agronomist Mauricio Perez to help them better understand what Erika had discovered.

When Perez came back with his report, Erika couldn't believe it. Planted over 80 years ago, these forgotten vines were smack in the heart of Lunlunta, called the Primera Zona of Argentine Malbec. The spot was perfect, so much so that Goulart was able to convince superstar winemaker Luis Barraud (of Cobos) to partner with her on the venture.

Goulart's Vineyards
Goulart's Vineyards
What do we have with this 2008? An Argentine Malbec blend that's exactly what the market seems to expect from Mendoza... but rarely finds.

Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Deep purple color. Lush purple fruit and licorice on the nose. Densely concentrated plum and red fruit flavors with large shoulders and excellent persistence. Fine, supple tannins on the finish. Drink now for the sheer hedonism of the old-vine Malbec or age for up to seven years."