Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Kaiken: Mendoza Malbec for all Budgets

I love Malbec from pretty much everywhere. But the grape has become synonymous with Argentina, and specifically the large region of Mendoza.

I recently tasted through three Malbecs from Kaiken, ranging in price from $10-$75. Kaiken sources fruit from vineyards all over the regions of Mendoza and Salta. The winery dates back to the 1920s, when it produced olive oil, distillates and tartaric acid. Today, the winery is a massive facility that can produce up to 7 million liters of wine. The U.S., with our big thirst for value-driven Argentina Malbecs, gets a lot of these wines, and many of them have wide distribution in major markets.

If you're looking for something inexpensive but don't want to sacrifice quality, Kaiken has you covered with their Terroir Series and Ultra brands. If you're looking for something age-worthy, impressive, and expensive, the Mai is absolutely delicious.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

 2015 Kaiken Malbec Terroir Series - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $10
Medium purple color. Nose shows red and black plums and cherries, more floral and livelier than the Malbec Ultra, but still lots of dark, earthy notes, sweet clove and magic marker. Suave, medium-full-bodied with velvety tannins and medium acidity. Black cherries and raspberry jam play well with flavors of coffee, vanilla, roasted chestnut, some earthy/spicy kick. Includes 15% Bonarda and 5% Petit Verdot, aged 10 months in new and used French oak. Fun stuff, very good for the price. (87 points)

2015 Kaiken Malbec Ultra - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $17
Rich purple color. Smells of black plums, jammy blueberries and raspberries, along with cocoa, vanilla, loamy earth. The palate is full and silky and the wine goes down easily with soft tannins and medium acidity. Black cherries and plums, juicy but not heavy, the oak is evident in terms of vanilla, mocha and toasted coconut, but it accents the earthy-charcoal notes nicely. All Malbec aged 12 months in 1/3 new French oak. (88 points)

2013 Kaiken Malbec Mai - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $75
Dark purple color. Deep but pretty on the nose with black cherries, dark plums, blackberries, laced with violets, loam, cedar, coffee grounds, graphite. On the palate this is full-bodied with impressive structured and balance between solid tannins and bright acidity. Complex elements of sweet coffee, anise, earthy-mineral notes, cocoa powder – lots of stuff to unpack in the cellar. All Malbec, aged 18 months in French oak. (93 points)

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