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Those that have a Malbec in their collection owe a debt of thanks to Achaval-Ferrer. After all, the innovative vision of winery founder Santiago Achaval guided Argentina’s signature varietal from the Mendoza Valley’s cozy confines to international superstardom. He’s not done spreading the gospel of the grape, as he joins forces with world-class vintner Roberto Cipresso to create an outstanding Malbec-anchored red blend that shows off the brilliant complexity of the Mendoza Valley. Marked by bold, ripe fruit and nuanced minerality, this full-bodied beauty sumptuously reinforces Argentina’s status as one of the world’s most important viticultural countries.
About the wine
Sometimes, perfection doesn’t come in the form of a sole varietal, or even a single vineyard. That’s the philosophy that consistently spurs the wondrous winemaking tandem of Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso to create this splendid blend. The legends set out to tell a complete tale of the Mendoza Valley terroir they so richly adore, gathering a quintet of grape varietals from a trio of Achaval-Ferrer’s exceptional vineyards. It’s an ambitious project, but considering Santiago propelled Malbec to the global market and Roberto’s made wine for Pope John Paul II, it’s safe to say that delivering such a viticultural story is well within their skill set. They have achieved fantastic results in pursuit of their mission. This is a captivating expression of ripe Mendoza Valley fruit that’s sensually subdued by coy earth and balanced acidity. The power of the mighty Malbec connects the journey, as ripe blackberry and blueberry are present from its bitter chocolate-accented nose to its polished finish. A dense, full-bodied palate beckons the fruity essence to spread out and get comfortable, while a nuanced finish bittersweet chocolate bookends the experience. It’s the perfect label for wine lovers looking to stretch their Argentinian acumen beyond the enticing realm of single varietals.
Winemaker: Santiago Achaval, Roberto Cipresso
Appellation: Mendoza Valley (Medrano, Lujan de Cuyo, and Tupungato)
- 93 pts, James Suckling
- 92 pts, Wine Spectator
- 90 pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
- 90 pts, Vinous
- 4.3/5.0, Vivino Users
Grapes: 50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot
Vineyards: Bella Vista Vineyard, Mirador Vineyard, Diamante Vineyard
Cooperage: 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new
About the winery & vineyards
Few people were turned on to Malbec when Achaval-Ferrer was launched in 1995. Fast forward to today, and the varietal can comfortably be uttered in the same breath as Cabernet and Pinot. This dramatic ascension can be attributed to the keen vision of founder/winemaker Santiago Achaval, whose keen nose for innovation and tireless promotion of the mighty Malbec and Argentina’s sublime Mendoza Valley unleashed its power on an international level. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the selections he collaborated on with winemaking virtuoso Roberto Cipresso turned the wine world on its head. This isn’t hyperbole, either: The winery was crowned Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Winery of the Year three straight years from 2010 and 2012, and they also became the first ever South American winery to nab a 99-point Wine Advocate score in 2011. This level of inimitable excellence is built on deeply honoring the terroir of the sub-appellations that house the winery’s exquisite estate vineyards. This phenomenal blend fully fleshes out this boundless respect, as the duo culls an All-Star collection of red varietals from a trio of property vines. Each locale brings a uniquely thrilling interpretation of Mendoza Valley brilliance: Bella Vista Vineyard’s elevated vines have been sipping on mountain water flow since 1910; Mirador’s alluvial silt-clay soil encourage the right amount of restraint; and Diamante Vineyard’s fruit benefit greatly from its 3,600 feet elevation. Santiago and Roberto carefully conduct the distinct voices of each vineyard into one harmonious masterwork of viticultural craftsmanship; one that’s bound to further expand the way the world views Argentinian wines.
About the winemaker
Few collaborations have ever commanded the level of reverence as the one between Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso. Santiago’s innovative work with Malbec through his Achaval-Ferrer label helped transform the varietal from regional favorite to global superstar. Roberto’s winemaking resume not only features a few near-perfect Parker scores, but it also includes the creation of special labels for Pope John Paul II and former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Despite the considerable clout involved, the dynamic duo’s list of exquisite viticultural creations contain nary a whiff of ego. What is found within selections like Quimera is a near-sacred reverence for the terroir; a deep respect that translates into the finest expression of the Mendoza Valley possible. Today, the legacy of these two winemaking giants is curated by the terrifically skilled hands of Silvio Alberto, whose own storied career as a winemaker and professor in the oenology field inspires a gentle, studious approach to the art of winemaking.
93 pts, James Suckling
"There's a minerality and intensity to this wine with limestone and salt. Full-bodied yet so refined. Sexy and beautiful."
92 pts, Wine Spectator
"Tightly wound, with intense cherry and raspberry preserve flavors, flanked by Asian spice notes. Bittersweet chocolate accents appear on the finish. Needs time to flesh out. Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot."
90 pts, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
"The 2012 Quimera is a multi-zone blend of 50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon matured in new French oak barrels. This is the first vintage where the Malbec takes half of the blend, as they want to increase the Mendoza/Argentina character of the wine reducing the more herbal varieties. Not that the wine has ever been herbal or green, and indeed this 2012 is ripe and aromatic, with just a hint of seriousness. The palate reveals how good the bottle-aging is for this wines, which polishes its tannins and leaves them soft and juicy. You don't really feel the heat of the vintage here, the wine is very fresh and drinks very well, but it should also be able to improve even further."
90 pts, Vinous
"Dark red-ruby. Ripe aromas of blackberry, blueberry and bitter chocolate. Dense and fine-grained, showing attractive spicy lift to its dark berry flavors. Ripe, harmonious acidity gives this wine a seamless quality. Classy juice."