My readers must know I like wines from France and Italy more than other countries.  I personally guess non-French and non-Italian wines I drank probably accounted for less than 10% of the wines I drank.  However, Achaval Ferrer is one of the producers that I recently fall in love.  It’s basic level Malbec is already a wine with very high quality and offers excellent value for money.

Last month, the Marketing Director of Achaval Ferrer came to Hong Kong and I have great pleasure to be able to meet him personally.  He is also so kind to arrange a small wine tasting For me.

Before the meeting, I have browsed the website of Achaval Ferrer in great details to understand more about this winery.  What surprised me (or I should say unsurprised) is the fact that most of the viticulture and vinification techniques employed by Achaval Ferrer are those aimed for high quality wines.  Many practices will resulted in low-yield and high production cost that not many wineries in Argentina are willing to do.  In addition, the winemaker of Achaval Ferrer Roberto Cipresso is coming from Italy’s Tuscany.  Maybe this also resulted in a wine that carry some Italian influences.

All the vineyards owned by Achaval Ferrer have very poor soil and are located at high altitude.  The large day and night temperature difference allows grapes to ripen slower and retain their acidity.  One of the problem of many wines from the New World is that they are produced from overriped grapes lacking acidity.  To balance the wine, acidification is required.  Acidification, however, usually resulted in acid that cannot be fully integrated into the wine.  I’m personally very sensitive to acidification and really don’t like wines that have been acidified.  Wine of Achaval Ferrer, however, is one of the rare exception in Argentina that don’t employ acidification.

Many of the vines of Achaval Ferrer are also very old, some are approaching 100 years old.  Planting density is also high at 5,000 to 7,000 vines per hectare.  These low-yield vinification practices resulted in wines with greater concentration and complexity.  For example, the yield of Finca Altamira and Finca Mirador vineyards are so low that a bottle of wine will require grapes of three vines!

2010 Mabec, Mendoza, Achaval Ferrer

Produced from three vineyards of Mayor Drummond Vineyard, La Consulta Vineyard and Medrano Vineyard.  Among the three, average vine age of Medrano Vineyard is 86 years old.  Annual production is about 12,000 cases.  Although this is basic Malbec from Achaval Ferrer, I found the wine already has very good character and complexity.  Rich yet elegant and extremely floral.  Ageing for further three to five years will allow the wine to further develop its complexity.

2007 and 2008 Quimera, Achaval Ferrer

A blend of five grape varieties, Malbec (40%)、Merlot (22%)、Cabernet Sauvignon (20%)、Cabernet Franc (14%) and Petit Verdot (4%).  Annual production is just 3,000 cases.  Comparing to the Malbec above, this wine definitely has better complexity, concentration and depth.  Both 2007 and 2008 are too young to me and both wines will benefit from further ageing.

Comparing 2007 and 2008, frankly I cannot tell significant difference (esp. their vintage climate condition).  Of course, 2007 is showing better integration and more developed than 2008 but these differences I think are coming primarily from one more year of bottle ageing instead of vintage difference.

2006, 2007 and 2008 Finca Mirador

Single vineyard Malbec with average vine age approaching 100 years old.  A vine can only produce about one pound of grape which mean a bottle will require grapes from three vines.  The 2008 is very young, very closed and very backward.  Although this is a wine with serious depth and complexity, patience is definitely required.  Similar to Quinera, I cannot feel much vintage climate difference among the three vintages.  I can only detect differences because of additional bottle ageing.  Vintage fluctuation in Argentina, anyway, is much less than regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy.  It is a shame that I do not have a chance to try Finca Mirador of older vintages (such as those with 10 years or more bottle ageing).  I believe they must be great!

Purchase  Regis Wine

2011 Malbec Achaval Ferrer

2008 Achaval Ferrer Quimera

 2007 Achaval Ferrer Malbec Finca Mirador

 2007 Achaval Ferrer Malbec Finca Altamira la Consulta

One Response to “Achaval Ferrer – An Argentina’s Winery That I Like It So Much!”

  1. Jiji says:

    ooh congrats on wnnniig tickets to the festival! it’s such a great event and if I wasn’t such a feather weight with my alcohol tolerance, I’d enjoy it a lot more haha. I think I went last year or the year before with some friends after we had volunteered at the event (if you volunteer, you get 2 free tickets to go!) and yeah, needless to say, we got pretty wasted. and I think we went out to The Modern afterwards (to drink more). So, you can guess how that night ended up. I wish I could remember lol jk. The merlot that you bought sounds really good! I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever go out and see it so I’ll know to try it. Great post Teresa! :)

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