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99-Point, Sub-$90 Lafleur-Like Argentine Red That Was Built to Impress - 02/28/2018 - Argentina

The Wine Advocate's Luis Gutierrez was so impressed with the last vintage of the Bodegas Aleanna "Gran Enemigo" Cabernet Franc that he awarded it 98+ points and compared it to the legendary Pomerol property Chateau Lafleur. This exceptionally high praise for a wine that can be had for under the $100 mark and is a testament to the impeccable quality this Argentine estate delivers from one vintage to the next. Well, the new 2013 vintage has arrived and with its 99-point rating and unanimous critical acclaim, it is firmly ensconced in the pantheon of the world’s truly inspired bottlings. When we poured this beautiful 2013 for our staff, there was a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” as it has a seamless delivery that immediately captivates. It was evident to everyone why the "Gran Enemigo" consistently ranks among the top wine from South America. While there’s certainly no shortage of new world flash in this Cabernet Franc, it also has the poise and sophistication to impress fans of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. While ready to drink now, this 2013 is also an excellent candidate to stock up and cellar as it has decade upon decades of sublime development ahead. Any collector would be proud to have this magnificent red among their his or her top bottles.

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2013 Bodegas Aleanna "Gran Enemigo" Cabernet Franc Gualtallary Argentina ($89.99)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I was really looking forward to tasting the 2013 Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard since all of the previous vintages have been truly exceptional, and I wanted to see what it would be in a cooler year. The bottled wine contains perhaps 15% Malbec in the blend, and they will soon stop mentioning Cabernet Franc on the label. It fermented in 500-liter oak barrels with 50% of the Cabernet Franc and all of the Malbec and then matured in used oak foudres. It's very intense and powerful, but at the same time, there is a kind of lightness on the palate that makes if feel light on its feet but with great inner power. There is citrus acidity that makes it effervescent and electric. It has some 7.5 grams of acidity and a pH of 3.45, very healthy parameters. The peppery character appears after some time, giving it a Chinon-like twist, and it also reminds me of my favorite Bordeaux, Pomerol's Lafleur. This is definitely world-class and worth lying down, as it should develop further complexity in bottle. This is one of those wines where the only improvement I can think of is having magnums rather than bottles. Bravo! Some 3,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2016. (LG)" (06/2018)

99 points James Suckling: "This is a fabulous wine with blackberry, dark mushroom, blueberry and white pepper character. Full body, fine tannins and fantastic depth and length. Goes on for minutes. A magnificent red. Beautiful encore to the superb 2012. Drink or hold." (06/2017)

K&L Notes: Winemaker and owner Alejandro Vigil (famous for his work at Catena) produces this now legendary Argentinian red bottling. It not only transcends grape variety, but has consistently captivated a variety of critics to the extent that it is routinely #1 or #2 amongst their top scoring Argentinian and Chilean wines. In fact, Wine Advocate's recent 100-point mark for this 2013 vintage is the first perfect Argentinian red in the publication's history (over 6,800 wines rated all time in the category).

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2018

Several of us were tasting this wine yesterday, when suddenly Kirk exclaims, "I get it, it's the Cab Franc!" What he meant was the importance of the impact of Cabernet Franc in the famous 1st growth amongst St. Emilion estates, Cheval Blanc (we were lucky enough to taste through some of their wines last year). While I don't have a cellar full of Cheval Blanc, I do see the similarity in the floral, intensely fruited, yet impeccably balanced and refined qualities of both wines. Whether it's the grape variety well adapted to its site, the limestone, the deft barrel ageing and winemaking, or some combination thereof, it is clear that this is top quality red wine which should age quite nicely for some years. This is a superlative red wine that has many of us digging deep for the appropriate words to describe it!

Staff ImageRyan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 23, 2018

The last vintage of this sold in a flash due to Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate) comparing it to Lafleur in his lofty 98+ point review. Although I didn't get a chance to try that one, tasting the 2013 it became incredibly apparent why. It is an incredibly seamless, elegant, compact Cab Franc that will age beautifully for years. It is also one of those wines that will be fascinating to follow as it develops and I find myself hoping for that opportunity. One of the most refined Argentinian wines I've ever tried, it also shocked and impressed some of the most devoted Old World wine lovers here at K&L. This is one that should be on any collector's radar for sure.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 21, 2018

After pouring a glass, this is one of those wines that continues to develop and become more and more nuanced by the second. To say the least, the 2013 Bodegas Aleanna "El Enemigo" is an absolute knockout. It is dark-fruited with a floral edge that tapers into subtle notes of black peppercorns and licorice. All of this is framed within a perfectly structured body and wraps up with an incredibly fine tannin. This multidimensional wine is one that should line the walls of your cellar. A true drink or hold.