|Whilst Catena's 'Alta' Malbec might remain a reference point for this grape's potential in Argentina, Trapiche's winemaker Daniel Pi has created a range of stunning, single vineyard Malbec's to showcase this variety.
Pi sources and selects the grapes from small farms up and down the length of Mendoza, bottling the best that he finds each year. Each of the wines proudly bears the name of the vineyard owner, and often the vineyards are very old plantings. The wines are aged in French oak barriques, and represent a pinnacle in worldwide Malbec.
Trapiche Malbec Victorio Coletto 2004
Victorio Coletto is the 83-year-old grower in this case, who's vineyard was planted in 1956 at an elevation of 1127 metres in the El Parel region of Tupungato. There's a beautifully smooth, expressive, plum, chocolate and silky black fruit nose, with touches of violet and exotic incense and spice. On the palate this delivers a seamless, unruffled flow of darkly spicy, plum and fig fruit, with layers of mocha and toast, a lovely elegant edge of bright, creamy blackberry and some of the smoothest, finest tannins I have tasted in a Malbec wine. Beautifully composed, this is another stunning Malbec in this exclusive, small production range. 94/100.
Trapiche Malbec Carlos Gei Berra 2004
This wine in Trapiche's stunning single vineyard Malbec series comes, like most of the others, from really old Malbec vineyards in one of Mendoza's sub-regions, in this case a vineyard planted in the 1930s in Lunlunta in Maipu. Maipu is a hot region, and on the nose there is an immediate note of prune and fat, juicy raisins, suggesting a certain overripeness. There's a real blue/black focused fruit intensity here, with a charry, toasty French oak character (18 months in new barrels) providing support. On the palate, that extremely concetrated, pruny black fruit has immense power, and there are all sorts of small liquorice and clove notes adding lots of complexity. This stays very pure and focused into a long finish and is a terrific wine, though for me its ultimate score is slightly capped by that touch of raisined quality. 91/100.
Trapiche Malbec Pedro Gonzales 2004
For the second year running the Uco Valley vineyard of Pedro Gonzalez was selected for one of the single vineyard bottlings, and the resulting wine is stunning, with a huge chocolate and raspberry nose, with a certain density, but also fine, very aromatic notes. Indeed there is beautiful refinement here, with plenty of spicy, fat, sweet fruit and chocolaty depth. Really rich, sweet palate, with fine tannins and great depth and concentration. Lovely life and ripeness about this, but fine acidity and supple, svelte tannin structure too. Beautifully made, with a very harmonious character. 93/100.
And re-capping on a 2003 from the series, tasted in 2006:
Trapiche Malbec Felipe Villafañe 2003
In this case, a wine from the La Consulta vineyards, planted to Malbec in 1948. The alluvial, sandy loam vineyard is at an altitude of 1,000 meters near Mendoza. The wine, which spent 18 months in new French oak, and the nose offers a melange of caramel, chocolate and spicy notes over very solid, dense plum fruit. On the palate this has a terrific verve and vitality, with the richness and Dundee-cake spiciness married to a keen-edged, brighter raspberry character, and immense concentration. There are tannins aplenty that are firm and grippy, and a raft of more chocolaty and smoky, toasty caramelised flavours fill in on the peppery and spicy finish. A real mouthful, but that glimpse of a steelier core makes it very structured and drinkable. 93/100.