Terrazas de los Andes Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Aroma: intensely aromatic. This wine emphasises red fruits, cassis and jam. Hints of rosemary together with vanilla and caramel give the wine a unique complexity.
Taste: a rich, full-bodied wine with a concentrated fruit flavour. The tannins present a well-balanced structure, whilst the ripeness of the fruit promotes a subtle sweetness.
Consumption suggestions: enjoy with red meats, cheeses and pasta dishes. Serve between 16° and 18°C.
At the end of the 1950s, the famous French Champagne house, Moët & Chandon, realized there was an enormous potential for growth in South America. They sent their wine analyst, Renaud Poirier, to study the possibility of expansion. Monsieur Poirier finally proved that Luján de Cuyo, a region within the province of Mendoza, was the best place for the birth of fine wines. In 1960, Chandon Argentina was established, the first subsidiary of Moët & Chandon outside France.
To make the Terrazas de los Andes wines, Chandon Argentina took the initiative to restore this building, located in the heart of Perdriel and at the foot of the imposing Cordón del Plata (a section of the Andes Mountain Range).
In the past, Chandon Argentina made only sparkling and generic still wines, however at the beginning of the '90s fueled by a political system more orientated towards an international market, a varietal wines project was born, to which Terrazas has now become the reality. Situated in Perdriel there is an old Spanish style winery that was used by Pedro Domecq to create his brandy. Renaud Poirier asked Domecq if he could use his equipment to make the first experimental vintages, between 1957 and 1959. Thirty years later Terrazas de los Andes was born, a tributary of Chandon Argentina dedicated exclusively to the production of varietal wines.
With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.
Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.
The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.