I’ve been following this wine over the course of a couple of days. It’s an Argentine Malbec, but not as you know it.
It is made by Vincent Wallard, a former wine bar owner, and Emile Heredia, a natural winegrower from the Vendomois in France. According to the blog of Les Caves de Pyrene, the UK importers, Vincent travelled through South America to spread the gospel of natural wine – about a different way to make wine. His view was, ‘Everything is controlled in Latin America which largely takes its inspiration from the American approach – where the notion of terroir is just a marketing tool and not a reality.’
This wine is made from organically grown Malbec grapes in Mendoza, and it is made with a sort of lasagne approach of one-third destemmed grapes, one-third whole bunch and then one-third destemmed grapes in a 120 hectolitre cement vat. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration, and just a very small amount of sulfur dioxide was used.
On opening, I found this a difficult wine to get my head around. But on day 2, it all makes sense. It’s really beautiful and edgy, in a good way.
Familia Cecchin Quatro Manos Malbec 2011 Mendoza, Argentina
14% alcohol. Initially on opening this is lively, aromatic and even slightly volatile, but that drifts off after a while to reveal a nose of spicy, peppery red and black fruits, with a hint of tar and some haunting violet floral perfume. Lively, fresh, almost tangy palate with lovely definition and a bit of grip, as well as a pronounced spicy, black pepper edge. It’s unlike any Argentine Malbec I’ve had, trading sweet, easy, international ripe fruit flavours for edges and brightness. I love the peppery black cherry fruit that is the key signature. There are also some nutty, earthy background notes, particularly apparent on the second day. A brilliant wine. 93/100 (UK importer Les Caves de Pyrene, retail price c £14, available from Smiling Grape and Joseph Barnes)
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