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THE TOP 100 WINES OF THE ANDES 2016


 Something extraordinary is happening in the Andes.

 

We’ve visited the region four times in the last two years, and we’re continually impressed with the reds and whites as they become increasingly refined and stylish. We also can hardly believe how affordable they are, ranging from 90 to 94 points and selling at bargain prices from $15 to $35. These finds would stack up against similar quality wines from France or California that cost two or three times that price.

Chile and Argentina are also making some of the most drinkable wines in the world. We’re happy to see the region move away from an old school style of dense, high-octane reds and embrace a more harmonious approach that emphasizes viticultural areas as well as vineyards. “We make wines that ultimately we want to drink,” says Marcelo Pelleriti, the winemaker of Monteviejo as well as his own brand Abremundos and at Pomerol’s Château Le Gay and Violette in Bordeaux

In Chile, the region’s uniqueness extends to different regions and varietals, though our top Chilean wines were cabernet sauvignons. The country has an exceptional heritage of old dry-farmed vineyards, particularly in the southern regions like Maule and Itata, with carignan, país, cinsault, moscatel and even malbec. But many producers are also grafting other varieties like garnacha (aka grenache) or monastrell (aka mourvedre) to these old vineyards. The wines are produced in a fresh and vivid style, giving them the transparency required to communicate their best microclimates and terriors and signaling a new era of Chilean viticulture.

In fact, some of the most exciting pinot noir outside of France is in Chile. “We have only begun to plant in the right places and with the right plant material,” states Francisco Baettig, technical director of Errázuriz, Viñedo Chadwick, and Seña. The pinots from the coastal area of Casablanca and its surroundings, with its cool yet dry climate and diverse soils, are testament of the qualitative leap that the variety has taken in the region. Syrah is also making a lot of noise in regions like Elqui, Casablanca, and Colchagua.

Perhaps a sign of Chile truly coming of age is our 100-point rating of the 2014 Viñedo Chadwick, a cabernet sauvignon from Valle de Maipo. This is a wine that defines the greatness of Chile with a purity, structure, and finesse that competes with the best reds of the world. “The possibilities are endless here,” says Francois Lurton, who has been making wines in Chile for decades at Hacienda Araucano as well as in Argentina at Bodega Piedra Negra. He was born and raised in Bordeaux and his family still owns some of the best châteaux, but he believes the future in the Andes is endless.

As for Argentina, single-vineyard wines continue to highlight the country’s quality revolution, with malbec leading the way. These are wines that can’t be duplicated. When people ask us about the future of Argentina, we like to tell them “malbec and more malbec.” It remains the ultimate communicator of fine wines in Argentina, despite excellent cabernet sauvignons, cabernet francs, chardonnays and semillons. It’s no surprise either then that the 100-point wine we found in Argentina this year is malbec: the Adrianna Vineyard Malbec Mendoza Fortuna Terrae 2012 from the Catena family. It’s the La Tâche of Argentina and comes on the heels of the first 100-point wine we discovered in the country two years ago, Viña Cobos Malbec Mendoza Cobos 2011.

The Adrianna Vineyard is located in Gualtallary, a region that is very much in vogue. It’s producing some of Mendoza’s most compelling wines, and its vineyards go from 1,100 to 1,400 meters in altitude, where sunlight intensity and temperature affect the behavior of the vines in all the right ways. Other fascinating regions include Altamira, La Consulta, and Vista Flores, all in Valle de Uco, which has become the promise land for a new generation of winemakers set on translating the essence of their land into the bottle.

While Mendoza remains the epicenter of Argentine winemaking, areas like Salta and Patagonia are also establishing themselves as prime winemaking regions. Salta, where some of the highest vineyards in the world are found, produces equally compelling and wild malbecs full of intensity and character. Patagonia offers its own refined and subtle interpretation of malbec as well as pinots from its Rio Negro area, which are generating even more buzz. And even obscure varieties like trousseau have found a home in Argentina.

This unique blend and balance of tradition and progress, old and new, is even evident in the types of producers. We’re seeing an uptick in small producers making better and better wines. But big names do matter, and the absolute best bottles come from talented winemakers who have a long resume of excellence. These two groups, together, represent the future of South America’s bourgeoning wine scene, and especially considering the exceptional value, it’s clear that now is the time to take note of what the Andes has to offer.

 

The Top 100 Wines of the Andes 2016

 

  1. Viñedo Chadwick Cabernet Sauvignon Valle de Maipo 2014
  2. Adrianna Vineyard Malbec Mendoza Fortuna Terrae 2012
  3. Viña Cobos Malbec Mendoza Cobos 2013
  4. Susana Balbo Wines Valle de Uco Nosotros Single Vineyard 2011
  5. Trapiche Malbec Cabernet Franc Mendoza Iscay 2011
  6. Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor Puente Alto Vineyard 2012
  7. El Enemigo Gualtallary Valle de Uco Gran Enemigo Gualtallary 2012
  8. Cheval des Andes Mendoza 2013
  9. Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Valle de Uco Single Parcel Los Castaños 2012
  10. Errázuriz Pinot Noir Aconcagua Costa Las Pizarras 2015
  11. Adrianna Vineyard Mendoza White Bones 2013
  12. Aristos Chardonnay Valle de Cachapoal Duquesa d’A 2011
  13. Terrazas de los Andes Luján de Cuyo Single Vineyard Los Aromos 2012
  14. Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Sin Azufre 2015
  15. Montes Syrah Valle de Colchagua Folly 2012
  16. Seña Valle de Aconcagua 2014
  17. Matetic Syrah Valle de San Antonio 2012
  18. Clos des Fous Chardonnay Valle de Malleco Dulcinea 2014
  19. Felipe Staiti Valle de Uco Vértigo 2012
  20. Errázuriz Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa Las Pizarras 2015
  21. Adrianna Vineyard Malbec Mendoza Mundus Bacillus Terrae 2012
  22. Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Las Compuertas Single Parcel Los Cerezos 2012
  23. Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza Argentino 2012
  24. Abremundos Malbec Valle de Uco Octava Bassa 2013
  25. Montes Valle de Colchagua M 2013
  26. El Enemigo Mendoza Gran Enemigo 2012
  27. Almaviva Valle de Maipo 2014
  28. El Esteco Valle Calchaquíes  Chañar Punco 2012
  29. Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Las Compuertas 2013
  30. Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Nicolas Catena Zapata 2012
  31. El Enemigo Mendoza Agrelo 2012
  32. Montes Carmenere Valle de Colchagua Purple Angel 2013
  33. Clos des Fous Malbec San Rosendo Tocao 2013
  34. Villard Syrah Valle de Casablanca Tanagra 2014
  35. Garcia Schwaderer Garnacha Valle de Itata Grenache Piedra Lisa Vineyard 2014
  36. Lapostolle Valle de Colchagua Clos Apalta 2013
  37. Abremundos Valle de Uco Octava Superior 2013
  38. Tapiz Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Alta Collection 2014
  39. Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Treinta y Dos 2015
  40. Vida y Alma Mendoza Gran Corte 2014
  41. BenMarco Valle de Uco Expresivo 2014
  42. Bodega Diamandes Chardonnay Valle de Uco Grande Reserve 2014
  43. Bodegas Caro Mendoza 2013
  44. Finca Blousson Valle de Uco Del Sol 2014
  45. Viña Cobos Malbec Villa Bastías Valle de Uco Bramare Zingaretti Vineyard 2013
  46. SuperUco Gualtallary Valle de Uco Genitori Mio 2014
  47. Abremundos Valle de Uco Página 1 2013
  48. Zuccardi Malbec Paraje Altamira Finca Piedera infinita 2013
  49. Errázuriz Valle de Aconcagua Don Maximiano 2014
  50. Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor Puente Alto Vineyard 2013
  51. Matetic Pinot Noir Valle de Casablanca EQ Edición Limitada 2015
  52. Ritual Chardonnay Valle de Casablanca Supertuga Block 2015
  53. Neyen de Apalta Valle de Colchagua 2013
  54. Bodega SuperUco Malbec Valle de Uco Calcáreo de Granito SuperUco 2013
  55. Montsecano Pinot Noir Valle de Casablanca 2015
  56. Laura Hartwig Valle de Colchagua Laura 2013
  57. Polkura Syrah Marchigue Valle de Colchagua Secano 2014
  58. Viña Von Siebenthal Valle de Aconcagua Tatay de Cristóbal 2011
  59. Kingston Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Valle de Casablanca CG’s Barrel 2015
  60. Bodega Noemia Malbec Patagonia Noemía 2014
  61. Monteviejo Malbec Valle de Uco Lindaflor La Violeta 2010
  62. Bodega Norton Malbec Luján de Cuyo Lote A – 112 2012
  63. Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Barda 2015
  64. Buscado Vivo o Muerto Mendoza San Jorge Paraje Altamira 2013
  65. Aniello Trousseau Patagonia Viña 1932 2015
  66. SuperUco Valle de Uco Genitori Mio 2012
  67. Abremundos Valle de Uco Octava Alta 2013
  68. Tapiz Malbec Mendoza Alta Collection 2014
  69. Villard Valle de Casablanca Le Pinot Noir 2014
  70. Bodega Mendel Malbec Mendoza Finca Remota 2012
  71. Bodega Cuarto Dominio Malbec Mendoza 2014
  72. Tres14 Malbec Gualtallary Valle de Uco Imperfecto 2013
  73. Trapiche Malbec Gualtallary Valle de Uco Terroir Series Finca Ambrosia 2012
  74. Pulenta Estate Agrelo Red Blend Finca La Zulema 2010
  75. Bodega Ruca Malen Malbec Mendoza Kinien 2012
  76. Zuccardi Malbec Gualtallary Valle de Uco Aluvional 2013
  77. Garage Wine & Co Carignan Valle de Maule Vigno 2013
  78. Bodega Piedra Negra Cabernet Sauvignon Valle de Uco Gran Lurton 2013
  79. San Pedro Syrah Valle del Elqui 1865 Limited Edition 2012
  80. Gen del Alma Tupungato Valle de Uco Otra Piel 2014
  81. Clos des Fous Pinot Noir Aconcagua Costa Pucalán Arenaria 2013
  82. De Martino Valle de Cachapoal Las Cruces 2013
  83. Zuccardi Malbec Los Arboles Valle de Uco Poligonos del Valle de Uco 2014
  84. Maycas del Limarí Chardonnay Valle de Limarí Quebrada Seca 2015
  85. De Martino Chardonnay Valle de Limarí Quebrada Seca 2014
  86. Susana Balbo Wines Mendoza Agrelo Brioso Single Vineyard 2014
  87. Trapiche Chardonnay Mendoza Gran Medalla 2014
  88. Vida y Alma Malbec Valle de Uco 2014
  89. Blanchard & Lurton Mendoza Grand Vin 2015
  90. Emiliana Valle de Colchagua Los Robles Estate Gê 2013
  91. Ritual Pinot Noir Valle de Casablanca Monster Block 2015
  92. Polkura Syrah Marchigue Valle de Colchagua Block g + i 2013
  93.  Doña Paula Malbec Mendoza Selección de Bodega 2012
  94. Mascota Vineyards Argentina Unánime 2013
  95. Casas del Bosque Syrah Valle de Casablanca Gran Reserva 2014
  96. Tikal Mendoza Natural 2013
  97. Viña Amalia Malbec Valle de Uco Gran Reserva 2012
  98. Sophenia Malbec Tupungato Valle de Uco Reserve 2014
  99. El Principal Valle de Maipo Memorias 2013
  100. Tabalí Chardonnay Valle de Limarí Talinay 2014

 

©2016, Thursday, September 15, JAMESSUCKLING.COM

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