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Tikal Corazon Red Blend 2001
60% Bonarda, 40% Malbec
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.
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.