The Amancaya Reserve Red Blend 2017 is a mix of 72% Malbec and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from estate and contracted vineyards in the foothills of the Andes in the Mendoza region of Argentina. The grapevines are all 30-plus years old and are situated between 2,600 and 4,600 feet in altitude.
Amancaya is a joint project between Domaines Baron de Rothschild (Lafite) of Bordeaux fame and Nicolas Catena (Argentina) known as Bodega Caro. Both wine establishments have roots that go back to the 1800s are synonymous with quality wine.
As a side story that is also related to this wine, Malbec was one of the main grapes used in Bordeaux blends in the 1800s. In France, there was a wave of pest and disease attacks in the vineyards, and whole vintages of certain grapes were wiped out. It got so bad that French winemakers went to Rioja in Spain to secure wine to replace the lost French wine.
At some point the Bordeaux estates stopped planting Malbec, there were just too many disastrous years. The Malbec grape from the 1800s died out in France, they thought it was lost forever. That is until DNA tests showed that the Argentinean Malbec vines had originally come from Bordeaux.
So the grapes for the Amancaya Reserve Red Blend 2017, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, were always intended to be blended together. Malbec has grown in Bordeaux again but is typically a small part of the blend.
The grapes are grown in Mendoza, Argentina, and are situated high enough in the mountains that they are above the line where pests and plant diseases exist. The vineyards get intense sunlight at moderate temperatures to go along with cool nights. The climate is very well suited to grow grapes.
The Malbec had a shorter growing season than the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a rather traditionally produced Red blend, which is probably to be expected with two wine houses with a long history as Lafite and Catena.
This Red Blend was aged in %0% French oak barrels and 50% concrete vats. If you think concrete is an odd choice for aging wine there are some significant advantages. The concrete walls of the vats are thick enough to insulate the container. Aging wine loves steady temperature and humidity and the thick-walled concrete vats achieve that at a far better level than a stainless steel tank or even an oak barrel. The alcohol content is 14%.
Amancaya Reserve Red Blend 2017 Tasting Notes
The color a nearly opaque black cherdryred. The nose is dark and smokey, there is cherry and raspberry, spice, dark chocolate, vanilla, pepper, and a light herbal edge.
This Blend has a soft yet firm mouthfeel with smooth balanced flavors. It starts with blackberry, licorice, and chocolate, followed by soft spice, black pepper and plum.
The mid-palate adds blueberry with cream, some harder edged spice, a salty sensation, and orange zest. This is a wine with a very pleasing character, loaded with flavor and very balanced.
The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity will have you smacking your lips and reaching for your glass, this is one of those wines that you do not need to be a top-notch wine expert to figure out that it is a very well-made Red blend.
The Amancaya Reserve Red Blend 2017 Summary
- This is a wine that is very easy to drink and easy to appreciate. It is not a simple wine, it has complexity, but every flavor, every texture has its place and purpose.
- The Amancaya gets 90 plus point every vintage by all the major wine reviews magazines. Sometimes I do not know what they are talking about, but I “got” this one.
- I almost forgot this little tidbit. The Amancaya is an indigenous flower that only grows in the Andes foothills. It is very rare, the winemaker said he has never actually seen the flower. So, this wine is named after one of the rare beauties of the Andes.