Jane Anson, Decanter 89/100
Owned by the Cazes family, this is a classic Graves that offers excellent value. The 2016 is a deep, rich ruby colour and attractively rustic in expression. It opens well in the glass, with a good balance of freshness and enticingly ripe plum fruits, kept in place by tannins that offer just the right amount of tension for a wine that is aimed at medium term drinking.
Drinking Window 2020-2030
Chateau Villa Bel-Air is located in Saint-Morillon in the heart of the “Graves” appellation. In the 18th century, Louis Dufaure, Marquis de Lajarte, a councillor in the Bordeaux Parliament, built a beautiful classical mansion on the site of the Bel-Air wine property. Today, the interior design of the property is classified a Historical Monument. After a long dormant period, the property was bought in 1988 by Jean-Michel Cazes and his family. From this date they completely restructured the vineyards and the technical installations prompting Robert Parker in 2005 to comment "The property has undergone numerous improvements aimed at heightening the quality of the vineyard and its wines (…) Many wine lovers have yet to discover the excellence of this great wine."
From vineyard sites in Luján de Cuyo, Maipu and Valle de Uco at altitudes of 2300 to 3835 feet above sea level. The diurnal temperature variations, long growing season and altitude give a tremendous purity of fruit. These sites are semi desert and irrigation is an essential. Yields are limited to around 3.2 tons per hectare.
Initially there is a period of 2-3 days cold soak then fermented with selected and native yeasts in 8 and 18 ton closed top stainless steel tanks. Total maceration approx 16 days. Native malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel and the wine is aged for 8 months in French and American oak of which 20% is new.
A dark shade of garnet with ruby reflections. Aromas of black cherry, black currant, briar patch, hard candy and pencil shavings on the nose. Bright and luscious on the palate, with black cherry, blackberry, plum, abundant dark chocolate and subtle notes of earl grey tea and black pepper keeping it balanced. Viscous and round, with plush tannins and a delicious finish.
After visiting Argentina in 1989, Californian trail-blazer Paul Hobbs became deeply interested in both the terroir and Argentine culture, noticing the unique potential for Malbec and other varietals in the region. After meeting two kindred spirits, Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud, they founded Viña Cobos in 1997 and since then there has been no looking back. Utilising gnarly old vines, careful vineyard selection, very low yields and an unerring empathy for the raw materials, Viña Cobos craft intense yet balanced wines that showcase the elegance and beauty of this region.