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Kaiken Ultra Mendoza Malbec 2018 £14.95
KAIKEN ULTRA MENDOZA MALBEC
Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.
The fruit for the Malbec Ultra was sourced from the Uco Valley. Variations in altitude and soil type result in grapes with distinct characteristics that give unique and highly complex wines. Grapes are sourced from three separate vineyards, at different altitudes: Vista Flores at 1,400 metres above sea level, Gualtallary at 1,300 metres above sea level, and Altamira at 1,100 metres above sea level. In spite of location and altitude variations, all three soil types are similar: alluvial soil with some sand and silt on top of very rocky layers that provide excellent drainage and ideal conditions to grow highly concentrated grapes.
The 2018 vintage was a hot and dry year with a large temperature difference of up to 20ºC between day and night delivering perfect ripening, Yields returned to normal after a few reduced years and the wines produced had higher alcohol levels and rounded tannins.
The grapes were hand-picked and then sorted again upon arrival at the winery. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted seven days at 10ºC. The fruit then underwent fermentation in concrete tanks for seven days at 26ºC before the must underwent malolactic fermentation in the same tanks. The wine was then transferred to French oak barrels, one third of which was new, to age for 12 months before a further six months in bottle prior to being released.
This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with purple tones and a wonderful display of rich aromas. The nose is enticing and spicy with floral notes. The palate is structured with soft tannins that lead to a finish that is fresh, complex and long, with notes of blueberry and blackberry.