The wines of Argentina are some not to pass by while walking up and down the wine aisles at your local store or wine shop. I recommend stopping over in this new world territory and trying a wine or two that sparks your interest. Maybe you don’t know too much about Argentinian wine, have never tried it, or are nervous you don’t know what to pick?
If you enjoy big, terroir driven, beautiful wines with notes of blackberry, spice, plum and cooked purple fruit, then the Quimera 2012 from Achaval-Ferrer Winery is just right for you! I recently sat down via Go To Meeting with Winemaker Santiago Achával and some other top wine writers in the USA to discuss this new wine composed of: 50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot.
The meeting was comprised of the Quimera 2012 plus a bottle of each of the components (grape varietals) in the wine. Tasting each individual component against the actual wine blend was interesting and very exciting. After a few sips of the wine, we all were wondering the same thing. What is Quimera? The Spanish meaning of the word means an impossible or unattainable goal that can’t be accomplished. This wine is carefully blended with specific percentages of the finest quality grown grapes.
As I spooned my pairings of Paella and Chocolate Truffles (made before the tasting) into my mouth on camera, I kept sipping the Quimera and then the components while also trying my hardest to take notes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the way Santiago described each component of the wine, that it really did add that special something into this beautiful blend.
2012 Merlot: The uplifting component that is in Santiago’s words, “The bad mother”. Merlot when threatened will abandon the grapes and if it undergoes stress it won’t produce ripe grapes. These grapes grow really well in the cooler climate of Mendoza, Argentina.
2012 Malbec: 50% of the blend and a total cherry bomb on the nose, this grape is fruit forward, smokey and has “multiple personality disorder”. The savory notes come from separate aging in barrels.
2012 Cabernet Franc: Softer but seductive with bright gripping tannins, making this grape and wine great with food! Leather and fresh spice on the nose add complexity and helps build the bones to this blend.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: This grape has a beautiful role in the Quimera blend, even at 8%. This grape is blended more in Argentinian winemaking and with this wine it’s always blended, never bottled at Achaval-Ferrer winery (except in this component tasting case).
2012 Petit Verdot: This grape acts beyond the percentage of 2% and is the “hippy guy at the party”, according to Santiago. This grape brings the wine together and acts as the root system for this blend.
2012 Quimera: Medium ruby. Floral aromas with blackberry, blueberry and cassis. Concentrated, well-integrated with flavors of crushed blackberry, licorice, and bitter chocolate-tobacco. Outstanding cellaring capacity.
If you’re new to wine, a seasoned wine drinker, or seeking dive into the exciting world of Argentinian wine, taste some of the Achaval-Ferrer wines. It’s a new year and time to branch out, expand your palate and taste wines with balanced tannins, minerality and structure. Pair this Quimera 2012 ($29.99-36.99) with seafood, steak and even vegetarian dishes… you won’t be disappointed.
Always remember to eat what you like and drink what you love, please pair responsibly!