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Kaiken Disobedience 2019 £18.17
Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, legendary Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes crossed the Andes to make wines in Mendoza. Aurelio saw the enormous potential of the region for premium viticulture and, after several exploratory trips, founded the Kaiken winery in 2002. His aim was simple: to make great wines in Mendoza and, in doing so, to show the best of both sides of the Andes.
The estate vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further south in the Uco Valley, where many premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that was almost forgotten in the region as Malbec’s popularity continued to soar over the past decade. As a result of Kaiken’s protection, there are now several old vine Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent wines, including Kaiken’s vineyard in the Vistalba district of Luján de Cuyo, first planted in 1910.
This wine is a blend of Kaiken 60% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot and celebrates a collaboration of many years between well-known Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann and Kaiken estate. Known for his distinct style of open-fire cooking, ably captured in the first season of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, Mallman's unstoppable and unique nature is captured by the name 'Disobedience'. The grapes are sourced from Kaiken's vineyards in Altamira in the Uco Valley and Vistalba in the Luján de Cuyo region. Vistalba's chalk and sandy soil, at 1,200m altitude, imparts an elegant and fruit-driven character to the wine. The alluvial and loam soil of the Luján de Cuyo forces vines to penetrate deep into the soil, contributing deep fruit concentration and tannin.
The summer of 2019 was mostly warm; the hot days were tempered by brief cold spells and cool nights which helped to maintain acidity. The harvest season was dry and resulted in perfectly healthy grapes. Overall the vintage produced relatively average yields and wines with refreshing acidity and elegant fruit concentration.
The grapes were harvested by hand in March and April and then manually sorted at the winery. Pre-fermentation maceration took place for five days at 10°C. The grapes were then fermented for 10 days at 28 °C in concrete tanks using both selected and indigenous yeasts. 30% of the wine was matured in first-use French oak barrels, the rest in second and fourth-use French oak barrels for 15 months before spending a further six months in bottle before release.
The wine has a complex character of vibrant red fruit complemented by notes of graphite and sweet spices. Full-bodied with fine-grained tannins, the wine has a persistent, rich finish.