Wine Of The Week – Mendel ‘Unus’ 2008
Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!
92 points, Wine Advocate:
“The 2008 Unus is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 16 months in new French oak. Medium purple in color, it displays a splendid bouquet of spice box, incense, lavender, earth notes, black currant, and blackberry with a hint of balsamic in the background. Full-bodied in the mouth with dense, layered flavors and a plush palate feel, this lengthy offering will benefit from 2-3 years of additional bottle age. Drink it from 2012 to 2023.”
Wine Advocate 192, December 2010
THE STORY & WINEMAKER:
Winemaker Roberto de la Mota has been working full-time in Argentina’s wineries and vineyards at 19 years of age . His passion for winemaking developed as a young child as he often helped his father after school at the Mendoza winery. Later De la Mota joined his father at the Mendoza Winery and worked together for many years, but eventually he moved on to work as the wine consultant at Cheval des Andes, a joint venture between Argentina’s top selections Bodegas Terrazas de los Andes and Bordeaux’s Château Cheval-Blanc.
De la Mota has since become one of Argentina’s biggest champions of the Malbec grape. To continue his wine endeavors he has partnered with Bodega Mendel – one of the new up and coming boutique wineries in Mendoza, focusing on 80-year-old Malbec and Cabernet vineyards. Mendel’s vineyards (totaling 32 hectares) were originally planted in 1926 & 1928, and are located in the heart of Mendoza – the true wine country of Argentina.
A true Adobo winery, Bodega Mendel is miniscule by its neighbours standards of size, but with Roberto’s guiding hand and Santiago Boaknin’s knowlege in vineyard management and oenology, Mendel has risen quickly to the top of the list of great Mendoza wineries. At a recent tasting at Mendel, Santiago was kind enough to take me through the vineyards, even though just the day before he had been thrown from his horse and broke his leg. He showed me how they practice organic vineyard management, with the vine rows interspersed with wildflowers and local grass to deter insects from eating the grapes. There are a number of olive trees on the property as well, with which Santiago makes the most beautiful olive oil (Santiago makes it as a hobby – there is none for sale).
The tasting table is made of an old door taken from one of the winery buildings – truly a sustainable place – and the wines were showing beautifully. I was treated to 2008 Mendel Malbec and Unus, 2007 Mendel “Finca Remota” and a very unique 2009 Semillon that Mendel has just started making in tiny quantites that I fell in love with – unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to get as Semillon in Argentina is fast becoming one of their most loved whites.