Boisterous aromas of black raspberries, plums, blueberries, and spices burst from the glass of the 2003 Patriota, a blend of 60% Bonarda and 40% Malbec. So named because it is produced from the two red cornerstones of Argentina's wine industry, this lush, exquisitely ripe, balanced, hugely flavorful effort conquers the palate with a plethora of spice-laden red and black fruits.
"Like pudding with its thick, creamy layers of plum,
blackberry, vanilla and mocha. Round, fleshy and
sweet through the finish, with a nice mineral hint to
keep it honest. A wine unashamed of its modernity.
Bonarda and Malbec." -Wine Spectator
Tikal is owned by Ernesto Catena and is named after his son. Ernesto spent his childhood in the vineyards of Mendoza among wine-growers and local pundits. Since then, he has experienced a kaleidoscope of cultures, living in New York, Buenos Aires, Berkeley, Cambridge (MA), Milan and London. But his heart remains in his homeland of Argentina (where he now lives), with its natural beauty of mountains, streams and vineyards, its wines, and its people who hold a special passion for living.
There are few wine brands that reflect the sensibilities of their owner more than Tikal. A skilled horseman, fashion designer, software developer, and book editor, Ernesto pursues all that gives pleasure in life. This hedonism (in the best sense of the word) shows through in the wines. It is a style meant to provide enormous pleasure rather than provoke contemplation; an expression of emotion rather than intellect. He has named his wines with passion in mind: Patriota (Patriot), Corazon (Heart), Amorio (Love Affair), Jubilo (Rejoice).
Luis Reginato is the winemaker at Tikal as of the 2002 vintage. Luis is young, but is already a highly trained and respected vineyard consultant and winemaker with long experience at his family's winery in Mendoza. Truly an up and coming talent, Luis and his wines are already garnering high praise from U.S. wine critics. Definitely a winemaker to watch.
View all Tikal Wines
Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Unlike 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.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most 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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.