We recently had the opportunity to taste a selection of some terrific Argentine wines from a relatively new U.S. importer, Brazos Wine Imports. Established in 2008, by two former wine distributors, Jonathan Chaplin, and Brian Ravitsky. Brazo represents boutique family wineries that produce tiny amounts of high quality hand-crafted wines. The producers are all first-class and source their grapes from estate vineyards, some more than 100 years old. The wines are modern, fruit forward and several reveal intriguing notes of terroir. The wines reviewed below are from three wineries: RJ Viñedos, Bonfanti Familia, and Bodegas Krontiras, all located in Mendoza.
For more information: www.brazoswineimports.com
RJ Viñedos 2011 Reunion Torrontes , Cafayete ($12) 89
From Cafayete, this Torrontes sourced from a small single vineyard offers fragrant aromas of tropical and stone fruit. It is fresh and crisp on the palate with high acidity and a pleasant zesty finish.
RJ Viñedos 2010 Reunion Bonarda Mendoza ($12) 89
This is a pleasant fruit forward Bonarda with fresh plum and black fruit flavors and a hint of spice and toast. It has good ripeness and high acidity on the finish.
RJ Viñedos 2010 Reunion Malbec Mendoza ($12) 90
The Malbec is fruit forward, ripe and round on the palate. Aged for six months in used barrels, it offers pure dark fruit flavors with good balance and acidity and firm tannins. Would be best with food. Great value.
RJ Viñedos 2010 Reunion Tinto Mendoza ($12) 89
Dark ruby in color, the Tinto is a blend of 40% Malbec, 40% Bonarda and 20% Merlot. It reveals fresh aromas and flavors of black cherry and is nicely balanced with good acidity and richness and firm tannins on the palate.
Bonfanti Familia 2009 Malbec Mendoza ($20) 91+
Dark ruby. This is an impressive fruit forward and complex Malbec from a 100+-year old vineyard in Perdriel. It offers aromas of black cherry and plum with notes of earthiness and minerals. Aged in used French oak for 12 months and a year in the bottle, it is rich and full in the mouth with excellent depth of flavor. It is also beautifully balanced with good acidity and firm tannins on the finish. Great value.
Bonfanti Familia 2008 Alpha Malbec Mendoza ($30) 92
The Alpha Malbec is crafted from a very special one hectare parcel of the Perdriel vineyard. Aged for 24 months in 50% new French oak and two years in bottle, it is rich on the palate with pure dark fruit flavors and a lush velvet mouth feel. The wine is also beautifully balanced and focused with firm ripe tannins ond a long finish. Very refined.
Bonfanti Familia 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza ($20) 90
This Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark ruby color and aromas and flavors of black currant and cassis fruit with hints of toast. It is ripe and concentrated with good balance and acidity and firm round tannins. The grapes are sourced from a 65-year old vineyard in Barrancas. Delicious
Bodegas Krontiras 2011 Doña Silvina Fresh Malbec Mendoza ($15) 87+
This is an easy-drinking fresh tasting Malbec made partially by carbonic maceration. Fermented in stainless steel, it is fruit forward and refreshing with pleasant plum flavors and high acidity.
Bodegas Krontiras 2009 Doña Silvina Classic Malbec ($25) 88
The Classic Malbec displays a ruby purple color and fresh black cherry fruit aromas. Aged in used French oak for ten to 12 months, it is soft and round on the palate with firm dry tannins. A blend of two vineyards.
Bodegas Krontiras 2007 Doña Silvina Reserva Malbec ($65) 90
From 100% old vines, the Reserva Malbec is a very special cuvee, with ripe plum fruit, earth and minerals. Aged in new French oak for two years and two years in bottle, it is medium weight and elegant on the palate with nicely integrated oak, good structure and excellent balance.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler, September 2012