The other major new ‘small’ development next to El Enemigo is the new winery by Santiago Achaval, supported by Roberto Cipresso; the old Achaval Ferrer team. But while Alejandro Vigil focusses on Cabernet Franc, Matervini’s motto is ‘what comes after Malbec? More Malbec!
However, Santiago is also looking for something new. He wants to explore Malbec in different soils, in particular less alluvial soils. He was fortunate, he had access to three different vineyards from the start, and from the 2016 vintage, I can taste five Malbecs.
The Vina Canota comes from an isolated vineyard 30km north of Mendoza. It is hot there, and the grapes ripen early. The flavours are intense, but the overall mouthfeel is a bit austere (92 points). The two Salta wines come from Cafayate. The body is not so big, the wines are elegant.
A step up is the Finca from the traditional Lujan de Cuyo area. This is a complex wine, a little fat perhaps, but quite layered with a sweet core. This is a ripe Malbec as you would expect it from a top producer (94 points).
The star of the tasting is the Pidras Viejas from a vineyard at 1600 meters elevation. The vineyard sits on volcanic soil and is densely planted. The yields are low. The colour of this wine is inky black, and the fruit flavours are very concentrated; black cherry, blackberry and cassis. At the same time, the texture is silky, and the wine is a pleasure to drink. The future of Malbec? (96 points)
Santiago Achaval is still producing great Malbec, and my sense is (supported by tasting some 18s from barrel), a lot more great wines are in the pipeline.