Let’s start this blog off with the fact that I LIKE the wine I am reviewing today. The problem I have is the way they are marketing it.
The Cuvelier Family
At the beginning of the 20th century, Paul Cuvelier and his young brother Albert, anticipating the inevitable rise in « château-bottled wines » to the detriment of the « tailor-made » blends of the wine merchants, decided to purchase top quality estates in the Bordeaux area. They bought Château Le Crock in 1903, then Château Camensac in 1912 and finally the prestigious Château Léoville Poyferré in 1920.
In 1998 Bertrand Cuvelier made the happy choice of personally accompanying Michel Rolland in his great Argentine project, which was to become the« Clos de Los Siete »group. Three years later, Jean-Guy Cuvelier decided to join his cousin Bertrand in the joint aim of building a Winery and producing fine wines worthy of the family tradition. Since then, the Winery has been built and each year the vines of Cuvelier Los Andes have contributed 50% of their production to « Clos de Los Siete », the wine signed by Michel Rolland.
The 2003 yield has also allowed the production of the first edition of «Cuvelier Los Andes-Coleccion». Then the 2004 harvest saw the arrival of our first edition of «Cuvelier Los Andes – Grand Vin ». With the 2005, Cuvelier Los Andes S.A., aside from its significant contribution to «Clos de Los Siete», can now present three wines, produced with the help and advice of Michel Rolland: Coleccion – Grand Vin – Grand Malbec. The quality of these wines, produced from young wines, is well beyond their original hopes.
Will the Argentine cousins rival in the future with the fine wines of Bordeaux??? It is for the consumers to decide. Time will tell….. I CAN ALREADY TELL YOU in 2018… THEY WON’T!! The entire marketing of these wines is that they are made in the same exact process, and style of Grand Cru Bordeauxs and with the same standards. The wine I am about to review is reporting 15% Alcohol. When is the last time a Leoville Poyferre had that type of Alcohol?. With that said… It is a totally different Terroir, and a totally different expression of Malbec than either Cahors in Southern France or Bordeaux.
I am fine with that and so should you be. So putting that marketing Gibberish aside, how bout I review this Malbec as an Argentine Malbec and not make any reference to Bordeaux cause there is none!
2014 Cuvelier Los Andes Malbec
This wine comes from the Uco Valley, Vista Flores region of Mendoza Argentina. 65 Hectares of Land, located 1,000 feet above sea level. They average 5,550 plants per Hectare. 85,000 bottles produced of this wine. 1.5. grams per liter of Residual Sugar ( I was happy to see that instead of 16 grams on many California Wines these days) All the grapes are hand harvested. 60% of the wine is aged for 11 months in French Oak Barrels. It is 100% Malbec (Argentina allows 15% of other grapes blended to be called a Malbec)
I first heard about this wine on Instagram from one of my colleagues Jamal in our Fort Lauderdale Store. He obviously, by what he wrote on there, was getting fed up like most of us in the Wine World with the overripe style that has become today’s Argentine Malbecs and he commented that this 2014 Cuvelier would finally remind you of the old school Malbecs Argentina used to produce that made the grape so popular among American Consumers. He was dead on about that. (Shout out to my man Jamal )
In the glass it is pretty darn black with hints of purple on the rim. After one hour of aeration, very intense aromas of blackberry mingled with blueberry mingled with cinnamon spiced- like cobbler pastry dough. On the palate, it’s a medium to full mouthfeel 15% ABV will do that… Just like Leoville Poyferre (Ok I lied …that Bordeaux Connection marketing angle bugs me lol ) Judging it as an Argentina Malbec , it certainly is a far cry from the Jam Bombs I have been tasting the last few years. It has balance, good velvety, juicy dark berry compote flavors, hints of cocoa powder finishing with spicy, grippy. tannins and a hint of that pie crust flavor on the back end. The one flaw…it is a far cry in a good way from most of what is on the market from Argentina but it does almost cross the line of being slightly too overripe in style.. just a bit. I am no Cuvelier Family Member , just a somm, but I would like to see the alcohol tamed a little and maybe some green flavors of tobacco to balance it all out. I am not going to go 92 Crazy like Mr James Suckling seems to give everything on the market today but I will give it a respectable 87 out of 100. A solid effort!!
My savior for Red Wines that are a bit overripe like this… 70% Cocoa or higher Dark Chocolate… worked really well with this. A great Memorial Day BBQ Wine. No wonder these Argentine people eat so much Beef.! 95% of the time I am still going to try to introduce you if I haven’t yet, to the Original Malbec from Cahors, France. The limestone and clay just gives that earthiness that is missing from New World Malbecs. I do however realize that many want specifically an Argentine Malbec and with what I have to choose from ….at $18.99 right now, this is one I would be proud to recommend. Ok one last time. Attention Michel Rolland and Cuvelier Family. I love your Bordeauxs!!! They are world class.!! Please stop comparing your projects in South America to any of them. Don’t lie to me Argentina!!! This is 100% New World Wine and a good one at that!