ViÑa DoÑa Paula
Doña Paula was established in 1997 by Chilean entrepreneur Ricardo Claro of the Claro Group with the purchase of 40+ year old Malbec and Chardonnay vineyards in Luján de Cuyo. The estate now consists of 1878 acres of vineyards in the Tupungato and Luján de Cuyo regions. David Bonomi is chief winemaker, and Edgardo Del Popolo is viticulturalist. Most the wines reviewed here are the entry level Los Cardos label; these wines tend to be very good values.
The fruit for most of the wines tasted comes from the 429 ha Finca El Alto in Ugarteche (Luján de Cuyo) and the 60 ha high altitude (1100 m) Finca Los Cerezos in Valle de Uco, the zone closest to the Andes and therefore the coldest and best suited for early-ripening varietals, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.
Doña Paula 2010 Los Cardos Sauvignon Blanc Mendoza ($12) 89
The Doña Paula Los Cardos Sauvignon Blanc shows good varietal character with an opulent style. It has an effusively fragrant nose of grapefruit and nettles and a citrus, pear and herbal palate of very good intensity. This is a very good wine and an excellent value!
Doña Paula 2008 Series Naked Pulp Viognier Mendoza ($25) 90
The Doña Paula Viognier is voluptuous and exotic. Showing smoke and stone fruit with orange marmalade and resin notes on the nose, this wine is full and creamy on the palate. Very ripe flavors of orange and apricot and even a light caramel note can be distinguished. This is a well made wine with good structure and acidity. The fruit comes from the Finca Los Cerezos; the wine spends ten months in French barriques.
Doña Paula 2009 Los Cardos Chardonnay Mendoza ($12) 87
The Los Cardos Chardonnay is in the ripe, New World style with a nose of smoke, ripe citrus, and honeydew. It’s ripe on the attack with good integation of fruit and oak and shows good acidity on the finish .
Doña Paula 2009 Los Cardos Malbec Mendoza ($10) 89
Fresh plum and blackberry waft from the glass of the dark ruby purple Los Cardos Malbec. There’s a sweet, tangy attack of blackberry fruit with notes of underbrush, tar, and earth and good purity of fruit on the finish with firm, ripe tannins. This wine offers everything, and at a very reasonable price. It just goes to show that all those people drinking Mendoza Malbec know what they’re doing. We liked this wine a great deal in our 2006 report on Argentina Malbec, and we’re happy to report that Doña Paula has maintained a consistent, high quality style. An exceptional value!
Doña Paula 2006 Series Tannat Malbec Salix Vineyard Mendoza ($23) 91
The opaque ruby 2006 Series Tannat Malbec is a very successful blend of Tannat (65%) and Malbec (35%). Roasted meat, tomatoes, and smoke show on the nose, and the inky palate offers astringent black fruit with tar and cassis notes. The finish is huge and long with nice purity of fruit and quite dry tannins. This is an unusual, and delicious, blend. The fruit is aged in all new French oak for 16 months.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler