In the past few years, international wine journalism has shifted its focus towards a fresher, refined, elegant and mineral style of wine. Wine tasting and competitions are no longer dominated by those hyper-concentrated, over-ripe, very alcoholic and oaky wines. The mayor referent of that taste – Robert Parker, the creator of the famous The Wine Advocate – is almost retired and its publication has added other journalists from other parts of the world with very different palates.
During his “kingdom” Robert Parker always had an antagonist. Against the mainstream “parkerian” influence, a journalist has – for more than 30 years – consistently maintained his preference for vibrant wines from fresh climates, and he always favored finesse over power: this journalist is Stephen Tanzer. Since 1985, its publication International Wine Cellar (today acquired by Vinous) has stood out for its clean style, and the careful attitude in awarding extremely high scores. He’s recognized for his neat and controlled writing, which has given him authority and credibility. Another big difference with his nemesis Robert Parker.
Today, Tanzer’s moment seems to have come. While other international critics get closer to his positions, the New York journalist remains faithful to his identity, establishing himself as the most influential personality in the wine world.
Tanzer reflects this peculiar style also in his last report on Argentina. In the introduction of his scores, he writes: “Argentina’s best growers and winemakers have gained a great deal of experience in recent years at getting their fruit ripe (but not overripe) under cooler conditions. Their grapes have benefited from longer hang time and somewhat better retention of natural acidity. The succession of cooler years from 2013 through 2016 has meant, at least at the level of serious producers, better-balanced wines than ever before, and, in the case of single-site bottlings, a growing number of wines that display distinctive terroir character”.
In Chakana we have been working in this direction for years. We always seek balance and elegance in our wines, trying to investigate, understand and finally express in the bottle the unique terroir of each of our five vineyards.
That’s why we are pleased to receive excellent comments such as those that Stephen Tanzer dedicated to our wines: our Ayni 2015 obtained 92 points in his report, the same score that Tanzer awarded to the Estate Selection Red Blend 2015, while the Estate Selection Malbec 2015 gained 90 points.
Here are Tanzer’s complete tasting notes:
Ayni Malbec “Paraje Altamira” 2015 – 92 points
Bright ruby-red. Sexy scents and flavors of dark berries, mocha, minerals and smoked meat. Concentrated, seamless wine with a captivating restrained sweetness and terrific energy lending shape and definition to the middle palate. Serious fine-grained tannins give this wine the structure for mid-term aging. This wine struck me as clearly better–and longer–than the 2014 version.
Estate Selection Red Blend 2015 – 92 points
Bright, dark red with ruby highlights. Pure but subdued scents of dark raspberry, pepper, chocolate and menthol. Fine-grained, savory and fresh; an alluring, delineated midweight with spicy and floral high notes to its raspberry and currant fruit flavors. The peppery quality carries through the wine and perks up the finish. This impeccably balanced, structured wine finishes with firm but harmonious tannins and subtly palate-staining spicy length.
Estate Selection Malbec 2015 – 90 points
Dark red. Musky aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry and mocha.
Supple, attractively glyceral wine with a fine-grained texture and good sappy lift. Classy, delineated, savory Malbec with firming spice and mineral elements and subtle depth and breadth. Finishes with dusty, very fine tannins and building spicy length. This very suave Malbec displays subtle salinity and restrained sweetness.