Dona Paula Masterclass ‘Taste The ultimate Malbec’
This was a very Informative masterclass presented by Martin Kaiser Director of Viticulture and Winemaking at Dona Paula. It featured a mini vertical tasting of their top wine, Selección de Bodega. Patrick Schmitt MW also provided a valuable insight.
Mendoza was founded in 1562 and Spanish settlers planted wine for sacramental purposes.
Argentina gained Independence from Spain in 1816 which led to a new wave of immigrants. The population rose from 2 to 8 million between 1869 to 1914. In 1865 Miguel Pouget brought French varieties to Mendoza.
A big advance came when a 1000km trainline was built from Buenos Aires to Mendoza
The 1929 wall St crash caused global economic collapse and a decrease in wine production
There was later another wave immigration and the population became the largest wine consumer in the world in 1980 112 Litres per person per year!
Don Paula was founded in 1997 with French and Chilean investment
First production was 1999
The vineyards are high altitude with a dry continental climate as they are long way from the Atlantic and Pacific. Rainfall is low.
Because of altitude the Minimum temperatures are similar to Cahors and Bordeaux but the Maximum temperatures higher
Martin talked about using a number of studies including Electro conductivity affected by Water running down slopes moving stones.. Studies can map out best areas and aid in where to plant
Estate Malbec 2021
Alluvial soil and Loess
Black fruits dark plum blackberry
slightly closed nose olive bay leaf
A little like cool climate Syrah
Altitude blend 1100 2019 Malbec 60 cab Sav Syrah
More pure fruit blackberry and black currant chocolate hint tobacco raspberry and some floral notes soft tannins cheeks mainly soft fruity
Altitude blend 1550 2019 cab franc Malbec casavecchia (Italian variety)
More acidic white wine acidity a sudden watering of cheeks. Medium soft tannins on the cheeks,some chocolate and tobacco
Sélection de bodega 2006 alluvial 1350 m Uco Valley
At yeast 1 month maceration, new oak 2 years, soil calcium carbonate
Very concentrated nose rich powerful.
Stewed blackberry and blackcurrant quite floral, violets, chocolate, cedar, cigar box
notes of black cherry, liquorice, black olive
Very smooth mouthfeel, soft integrated dry powdery tannins, especially cheeks and gums
Really long delicious 🤤 fortunate to taste an old Malbec of such quality
(Reminds Patrick of old Massetto, wish I’d tried some!)
Sélection de bodega 2012
Black fruits and florality, soft tannins cheeks and palate, nice acidity and balance, lively but not as seductive as 2006, slight meatiness in nose ? 2y limestone in soil. Savouriness provides the match of Malbec and steak with finely chopped herbs
Not the fatness fullness richness of the 2006 but delicious too.
Sélection de bodega 2019
More red berries raspberry,, red cherries fresh.
Clean acidity chalk mineral elements.
This was a good reminder of the quality of Argentinian Malbec with approachable soft tannins and a lovely mix of red and black fruit and a nice balance of acidity
We were very fortunate to taste an 16 year selection which was really rich and complex and shows the ageing potential of top Argentinian Malbec and the quality produced by the Dona Paula Estate
It was Interesting to compare the effect of different altitudes and soils.
There was a certain meatiness/meat juice bloodiness in the 2012 possibly reflecting the limestone soils and I can see why Malbec is often the perfect match for steak.
I am most grateful to Martin Kaiser and Patrick Schmitt MW for the excellent presentation and Isabel Distin from The drinks business for the kind invitation.
This was an excellent preparation for our forthcoming WanderCurtis wine dinner on Thursday 27th October with Zuccardi wines from Mendoza. When quizzed about Malbec next week I’ll have more idea!