Luca Nico Malbec 2006
Malbec from Argentina, South America
Deep, dark color—you could use it in an inkwell! Dense and concentrated but never loses its ability to exude the red and black fruits and spice that are the true expression of Malbec in Mendoza. This is a huge wine that is a blend of old-vine grapes from 2 of Mendoza's most respected growers, located in two different districts. Only 4 barrels produced. While you certainly could drink this now, it will improve considerably with 3-5 years in the bottle. If you do drink it now, decant a few hours before drinking.
The Wine Advocate - "Laura Catena's flagship is the 2006 Nico by Luca. It was sourced from Malbec vines averaging 49 years of age in Altamira and La Consulta and aged for 18 months in new French barriques. Saturated purple/black in color, it exhibits a superb nose of toasty oak, Asian spices, incense, lavender, black cherry, and blackberry. Full-bodied, dense, and powerful, it managed to remain light on its feet. Smooth textured, succulent, and long, this is a pleasure-bent effort that will satisfy hedonists from 2013 to 2026. "
Wine Spectator - "Very ripe, with broad, fleshy layers of boysenberry and blackberry fruit, fig sauce, Turkish coffee and melted licorice. There's lots of spice and fruitcake notes on the rich finish, which sails on gracefully despite its weight. This has a gorgeous mouthfeel for such a dense wine. Drink now through 2011. 100 cases made. "
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby. Sexy aromas of blackberry and bitter chocolate complicated by graphite minerality. Wonderfully dense and sweet, with terrific depth and definition to the dark berry, chocolate and smoky oak flavors. Plenty of material in reserve here, promising a slow and positive evolution in bottle. The firm but ripe tannins are buried in fruit, but there's serious underlying structure here. 92+"
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Laura Catena is a fourth generation winemaker who grew up in a traditional Argentine-Italian winemaking family in Mendoza. Laura splits her time between Mendoza and San Francisco, California, where she is an emergency physician, university professor and occasional tango dancer. Laura had the vision of creating a new breed of Argentine wines: small quantities, artisan quality, and true to their individual terroirs. A pioneer of small-grower relations in Mendoza, Laura's incredible, limited production wines come from some of Argentina's best fruit from low-yield, high-elevation, family-owned vineyards. The wines are named after her children - Luca, Dante and Nicola - and the background of the label is the McDermott coat of arms of her American husband, Daniel McDermott. View all Luca Wines
Notable FactsUnlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
About South AmericaRelated Links:
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.