2012 Antucura Malbec Vista Flores Mendoza
Expert Rating
DM 95 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Decanter's Argentine Elite
Wine Retail Price Score
2010 Doña Paula Los Indios Parcel Estate Malbec $60+ 96
2012 Antucura Malbec Vista Flores Mendoza $25 95
2011 Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Collection Malbec $33 95
2011 Vina Amalia Malbec Reserva $38 95
2011 Colomé Authéntico Malbec $40 94
2009 Terrazas de Los Andes Single Vineyard Las Compuertas Malbec $45 93
2010 Viña Cobos Bramare Luján de Cuyo Malbec $39 92
2009 Trapiche Finca Saurez Lastra Terroir Series Malbec $42 90
95pts and Decanter's #2 Argentine Malbec of the Year

It's one of the most closely watched Argentine wine events of the year. Decanter Magazine, Britain's highbrow-collector version of Wine Spectator, conducted its annual Malbec tasting in October. The tasting panel, led by renowned Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, would swirl, smell, sip and evaluate hundreds of entries from each sub-region of Mendoza, Salta, San Juan and Patagonia. When the votes were tallied and the bottles disrobed, just 14 wines were rated 92 points or more — only four of which came in at 95--96.

Having visited Vista Flores and Anne-Caroline Biancheri's Antucura in April, it came as no surprise that winemaker Hervé Chagneau's inaugural release would be one of those four — earning 95 points and finishing as Decanter's #2 Argentine Malbec of the Year.

Hervé Chagneau was born in a small village outside of Bergerac. After completing multiple degrees in viticulture and enology at the Faculté de Bordeaux, Chagneau landed a winemaking post at La Croix de Gay, where he helped craft plush, silken Pomerol. But after a three-year stint at Malarctic-Lagravière and another in Saint-Émilion, Chagneau fell in love and eventually married an Argentine woman, and followed her to the snowcapped foothills of the Andes.

Reflecting on the Decanter Malbec tasting, Jo Ahearne remarked, "There were very few faulty wines, but still too many with raisined fruit or that were over-extracted and over-oaked. Thankfully these were in the minority and are decreasing in number. … If I had to pick a favorite terroir, it would be the elegance and delicacy of Vista Flores with all those enticing aromatics, gentle tannic structure and spicy complexity." When Ahearne spoke, she surely had Hervé Chagneau's utterly captivating 95-point 2012 Antucura Malbec in mind.

Antucura's vines are set in the heart of Vista Flores, on a fairly narrow, 100-hectare band perched at nearly 3,500 feet in elevation. Soon after Chagneau took over from "flying winemaker" Michel Rolland, he ran soil studies on the slopes of Antucura. "At the bottom of the hill, the soils are sandy, making for juicy, fresh, vibrant Malbec. In the center, the soils are largely clay, making for darker, heavier reds. At the top, it's all gravel and the Malbec is far more mineral and structured. I divided the property up into dozens of blocks, then picked and vinified each separately. It wouldn't take long to figure out that the sum of the parts was far greater than any single ingredient."

Antucura sold off 70 percent of its production in 2012, keeping only the best Malbec for its estate-bottled production. Harvest began on March 23rd at the bottom of the slope, but wouldn't be completed until April 11th. Harvesting somewhat earlier than Rolland had, Hervé picked each block in a single morning, then transferred the freshly clipped bunches into a refrigerated container to preserve freshness. After conducting dozens of micro-vinifications off sandy, clay, and gravel blocks, Chagneau spent weeks playing with the assemblage. The final blend would be made up of 60 percent sand, 30 percent clay, and 10 percent gravel, making for one of the most luscious Malbecs that we — or the Decanter panel — had tasted in several years.

The 2012 Antucura Malbec Vista Flores Mendoza is deep purple to the edge with luscious aromas of crushed black fruits, sweet spice and violets, sprinkled with white pepper. Rich and juicy on the attack, powerful without any sense of heaviness, Chagneau's first release walks the tightrope between Mendoza primary fruit hedonism and Bordelais backbone. Drink now (hard not to), or lay down for 4-6 years in a cool cellar.



Tasting Notes

2012 Antucura Malbec Vista Flores Mendoza
"The 2012 Antucura Malbec Vista Flores Mendoza is deep purple to the edge with luscious aromas of crushed black fruits, sweet spice and violets, sprinkled with white pepper. Rich and juicy on the attack, powerful without any sense of heaviness, Chagneau's first release walks the tightrope between Mendoza primary fruit hedonism and Bordelais backbone. Drink now (hard not to), or lay down for 4-6 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

"A wonderful velvet texture with great purity. Dense bramble fruit with hints of violets. Good length and lovely juiciness, and with a firm, fine tannic structure. 14.7% alcohol. Drink 2013--2020."
95 points -- Jo Ahearne MW, Decanter Magazine

 

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