She says: There it is… The Clos de Chacras at dinner… and getting a kiss?? Seriously nutty woman.
SHE SAYS: Want to feel really good? Like you are in love? Then click the link right here and go to the Clos de Chacras website. Listen to the music while you read what we’ve written about this Bodega.
HE SAYS: This is another boutique winery in the city of Chacras de Coria in the Luján de Cuyo area. Bautista Gargantini was one of the fathers of the Argentine wine industry in Mendoza. By 1911, their winery ranked as one of the world’s leading producers. In 1921 they opened a facility in Chacras de Coria, but it was later sold. Then in 1987, Bautista’s granddaughter Silvia Gargantini, and her husband, Alejandro Genoud, purchased it. Some remodeling and updating was required, but beyond that the approval process took an astounding 17 years and they just reopened in 2003. Well, it was well worth the wait.
SHE SAYS: It’s not very often that someone has the patience to wait for 17 years to create something they love, but here you will see and feel the value of those 17 years. The preservation of their history and the permanence of their long-term choices for the life of their winery are seen and felt in every corner.
HE SAYS: We were lucky again and received a private tour of their old wine-making facility and saw some of the new improvements. Their old cement fermentation tanks are located underground, and the original gate that is reflected on their bottles is still there in the bottle storage area.
They have long-term contracts to purchase grapes from the nearby Maipú area and the La Consulta and La Carrodilla areas in the Uco Valley. They make two lines – Cavas de Crianza, with Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet varietals, plus a blend of the three – and Gran Estirpe, their premium Malbec wine. We paid about about $10 US each for the tour and tasting, which included cheese and crackers.
SHE SAYS: The 2004 Gran Estirpe is why we are here. When we tasted the Gran Estirpe at Vines of Mendoza, we knew we had to visit Clos de Chacras. Seek the Gran Estirpe.
2006 Cavas de Crianza Malbec –
HE SAYS: Gorgeously purple colored Malbec from the Maipú region, with fruity and soft flavors. It shows great balance and is very smooth and has a wonderful mouth feel. This sold for about $30 Argentine pesos, or less than about $10 U.S. This is a great wine and a tremendous value. 15+
SHE SAYS: This is our forth winery of the day. I can tell you this one is beautiful, but I have no more words than that.
2005 Cavas de Crianza Cabernet –
HE SAYS: This also comes from Maipú and was deep and dark, with an earthy component to it. It is very good and very complex. It can age for about 5 or 6 years they think. Also a great value at around $10. 15
SHE SAYS: This one makes me cry. In a good way.
2005 Cavas de Crianza Blend –
HE SAYS: A blend of 40% Malbec and 30% each of Cab and Merlot. It was nice, had medium tannins, but was not as distinguished as the Cab or Malbec. As I recall, the blend costs just a bit more. 14
SHE SAYS: I am tired. I will trust you on this one.
2004 Gran Estirpe Malbec –
HE SAYS: We tasted this through the Vines of Mendoza. The grapes for this Malbec come from 100-year-old vines in Lunlunta (Maipú) in the Luján de Cuyo area. It has brilliant purple color and a full mouth feel, soft and warm like a warm brie. This Malbec has merlot and cabernet and was one of the best malbecs I tasted. They only produced 6,100 bottles and it has won a few awards, so it is well worth seeking out. Really delicious. 16+
SHE SAYS: Seek the Gran Estirpe. Since they make only 6,000 bottles, this will not be a part of your scheduled tasting. Just buy a bottle and take it home with you. You will have no regrets.
Vines of Mendoza was our first stop for tasting in Mendoza Wine Country. Here are some comments from 7 wines we tasted at the Vines of Mendoza. Many thanks to Pablo who helped arrange some appointments at wineries in Mendoza while we were there.
2005 Mairena Bonarda – HE SAYS: This was my first sampling of Bonarda, which is abundantly grown in Argentina. In the past, it was often used to add color in blends of syrah or for inexpensive wines, but with better techniques many winemakers are realizing the potential of this grape. This wine reveals many cranberry flavors. It’s a bit dry and a tad bitter because of the tannins, but it has a good body. 14+
SHE SAYS: I’m so happy to meet a new grape! You are yummy, and you just meet so few new grapes these days.
2005 Cinco Tierras Malbec Clasico – HE SAYS: The Banfi family of wineries owns Cinco Tierras and the Italian influence is present in this Malbec. It is a very smoky wine from the higher toast they use on their barrels. The wine is dry, without big flavors. Not flashy, but well made. 13+
SHE SAYS: Smokey wines are soooo sexy.
2002 Gentile Collins Gran Syrah – HE SAYS: I’m sorry to say, this was the worst syrah I’ve ever tasted. It didn’t even taste like a syrah. It has a port-like smell, but while it’s not sweet, it just had a really odd flavor. I don’t know if that style is intentional or because syrah doesn’t grow well in Argentina, but all I could say was “Ugghh!” 10
SHE SAYS: Lighten up – it’s fine.
2002 Hacienda del Plata Cabernet Sauvignon – HE SAYS: This wine had nice body, berry flavors and a medium amount of acid. It was pretty evenly split between stainless steel, French Oak and American oak. Perfectly drinkable, but not wow. 14
SHE SAYS: Don’t bother me. I’m busy eating this CHEESE! (Vines of Mendoza will serve you extraordinary and memorable cheeses with your wine.)
2005 Pulenta Estate Merlot – HE SAYS: This Merlot was very, very good. It’s well balanced and has a long finish. The wine was fermemented in oak vats and aged in small barrels and was one of the best Merlots I tasted all trip. 15+
SHE SAYS: Oh God, they gave me Proscuitto, too. The wine is all yours, honey.
2006 Bressia Monteagrelo Malbec – HE SAYS: This wine was made by Walter Bressia, who has struck out on his own after making Argentine wines for about 30 years, including for Bodega Vistalba and Viniterra. His winemaking skills are evident in this lovely Malbec, which is a blend from five vineyards and was aged in French oak. It has a great color, good body, nice balance and has a nice soft, smooth finish. The tannins are low, so you’d want to drink it soon. 15+
SHE SAYS: There’s wild boar on my plate, too. You stay busy with that wine. They have given me food from the gods.
2004 Gran Estirpe Malbec (by Clos de Chacras) – HE SAYS: The grapes for this Malbec come from 100-year-old vines in Lunlunta (Maipú) in the Luján de Cuyo area. It has brilliant purple color and a full mouth feel, soft and warm like a warm brie. This Malbec has merlot and cabernet and was one of the best malbecs I tasted. They only produced 6,100 bottles and it has won a few awards, so it is well worth seeking out. The wine is produced by Clos de Chacras, a boutique bodega who we visited in Luján de Cuyo. Really delicious. 16+
SHE SAYS: I’m finished eating. Oooooh – this is a happy wine. Take me to the people who made this wine.