Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Malbec
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
2016 might have reminded visiting Bordelais of a particularly wet harvest back home, but the best wines from the vintage are refreshing, balanced and wonderfully “European” in style. Combining Cabernet Sauvignon with 17% Malbec, this is a stunning blend showing elegance, poise and finesse. Racy and nuanced, with graphite, cedarwood and polished tannins.
Already quite open, this is a cool and slightly shy wine with ripe plum, delicate herb and toasty aromas. The rather sleek palate and fresh acidity carry the long, clean, rather stony finish. For the first time, this is dominated by 90 per cent cabernet sauvignon. Drink or hold.
The cedary nose of the 2016 Caro transported me to the wines from Bordeaux, and the explanation might be because the blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec—the highest percentage of Cabernet in the history of Caro. This has very good complexity; it feels young (Cabernet tends to develop at a slower pace than Malbec), even though it matured in 100% new oak the oak is very integrated. The barriques are only produced by the Lafite barrel makers, and there is great care in the selection of the wood and the toast; the barrels are designed to produce a more elegant style of wine, subtle and harmonious, with a notable absence of toasted and smoky aromas. This wine is polished and sleek, but there is nice balance to develop nicely in bottle for a good decade. 50,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2017.
CARO was born of the alliance between two wine cultures (French and Argentine), two noble grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec), and two renowned wine families, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolás Catena. Vignerons since the 19th century, these two powerful organizations have combined their deep knowledge of Mendoza's high altitude terroir and the art of winemaking to create a unique wine: CARO. Two noble grapes, two families, one dear and elegant wine.
The idea of forming a partnership between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the Catena family was born in 1999. Initial enthusiasm quickly became a concrete plan to produce a single wine that would combine French and Argentine cultures and the two signature grapes of each producer, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Catena family has produced wine for three generations. Consequently, it was able to draw on its vast knowledge of the high altitude terroirs of the Mendoza region as well as its passion for Malbec to find the best vineyards. DBR (Lafite) contributed its centuries-old skills in growing, vinifying and ageing great Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as its know-how in blending different grape varieties to produce one wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The vineyard locations for the Cabernet Sauvignon are 40% from a 20-year-old vineyard in Agrelo, a region 3,117 feet in elevation, and 10% from 30-year old vines in El Cepillo la Consulta, with an elevation of 3,773 feet. The vineyard locations for Malbec are 10% from a 12 year old vineyard in Tupungato at 4,593 feet elevation and also 40% from a 53-year-old vineyard in Vistalba, at 3,609 feet elevation. Throughout the season we monitor the vineyard technique, irrigation management and bud thinning to ensure low yields in balance with the canopy, good ventilation and illumination.
Previously CEO of Bodegas Argento S.A., Estate Manager Philippe Rolet began his career at Domaine William Fèvre, (France) before joining the Alta Vista Group in Mendoza where he was CEO and President. Aged 46, he holds a French Management degree and is today at the head of the French Honorary Consulate in Mendoza.