The wines of Achaval-Ferrer come from a story of passion and friendship. A combination of back-breaking labor in the vineyards and an obsession for quality, are what give their Malbec-driven wines such individuality. In 1999, Santiago Achaval set out to purchase a vineyard in Mendoza with renown Italian enologist and partner Roberto Cipresso. Little did Santiago know, that what they would embark on, would shape the wines of Mendoza for years to come. An abandoned vineyard of vines planted in the early 1900’s were at first a shock to Santiago and his team. However, upon tasting the first batch of grapes, they were humbled, and immediately bottled their Finca Altamira 1999, receiving 5 stars from Decanter Magazine, a first for the region. Today, they own multiple vineyards that are a true expression of the terroir. Achaval believes in low yields, aged vines, and uncommon practices to produce wines that each show their own character. Higher temperature fermentation, early blending, and the omission of cold-soaks and added sulfites are all a part of the risks they take to break through barriers in winemaking.
The Quimera 2010 is a blend from multiple vineyards and altitudes. While usually driven by Malbec, this vintage saw more of a balance in the blend, with 27% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot. Quimera translates to the pursuit of something impossible. It’s a pedestal to which Santiago and his team strive to accomplish with each production. Both Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown on higher elevation vineyards to promote more sunlight, and more concentrated juice, whereas Cabernet, and Malbec sit much lower below the Andes. This wine has multiple layers of fruit that are pure, vibrant, and dense with minerality, hints of lime peel, blackberry, crushed berries, and floral notes. Pair this wine with a carne asada, or a skirt steak in a chimichurri sauce to hold up to the tannic structure and complexity of the wine. A blend of qualities we all strive for. Passion. Friendship. Dedication. Perfection. –JT
ACHAVAL-FERRER Quimera Mendoza 2010
Related scores: WS: 91, RP: 91
Market price: $50 (click here to find out where you can purchase a bottle)
Decanting time: 60-90 minutes
Drinking window: Drink now through 2020
Food pairing: Grilled Skirt Steak with Rösti Potatoes (from famous Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann)