2003 Aleph Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza

SKU #1051735

This is the tastiest Cabernet Sauvignon I have yet to taste from Argentina, and certainly one of the best cabs I've tasted from anywhere all year. Roberto Rodriguez Canal, part time San Francisco resident, is one of the partners in Platense wines, the company who produces Aleph and brings it to market. According to Roberto: "We do not produce wine to please mass demand. Our wines are not over extracted and definitely not over oaked, we produce limited quantity of wine with its own character." The Aleph name is a tribute to a short story penned by the great master of fiction, Luis Borges. Fruit is sourced from a 3,600 ft high vineyard in the Tupungato sub-zone of Mendoza. Indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation, and the oak aging is a judicious 6 months in French barriques, both of which surely contribute to the overall sense of balance and elegance in the wine. A nose of deep, brambly dark fruit leads to a palate showing terrific, pure dark fruit, with a bit of a meaty character and traces of cocoa powder. The roundness, softness of the tannins and overall balance is a testament to the skillful winemaking and aging time in bottle. This is, without a doubt, my new favorite Argentinean Cabernet. The best part might just be its humble $20 price tag. (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean wine buyer)

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Price: $19.99

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

Argentina

- Argentina is regarded as one of the most dynamic wine-producing nations in the world, and possibly the most important wine-producing region in South America. Only four countries in the world produce more wine than Argentina. Considerable investments (much of which has come from famous French, Italian and California wine producers) have been made in new vineyards and winemaking technology in the past several years, which along with recent plantings of more premium varieties of grapes, has made Argentina much more competitive internationally. The Mendoza region is the most important region in Argentina's wine industry. And Malbec, among other Bordeaux varietals grown here, reigns supreme. Click for a list of bestselling items from Argentina.