Last Trip to Argentina for the Foreseeable Future, but Today’s A TWO-FER!

I know we’ve done a lot of Argentinian wines (or it seriously seems that way at least).
I know that. But they’re so good. And so cheap. And usually YES’s so please forgive me.
This will be our last foray into Argentina for awhile I think. France and Italy and Ohio are nipping at our heels here
and I honestly can’t wait to see what they all have in store. But those are for another day.

This is kind of a funny story. Well maybe not a “funny haha” as much as a “oh shit I didn’t realize I did that” kind of funny. But we’ll call it funny all the same.

So I was at THE STORE. (Random tangent: Usually I’d refer to most liquor/wine/spirits/beer stores as Beer Stores as I’ve always done when referring to my local haunts out here in Chicago. Reason being is when I lived in PA there were only two types of stores you could really go to get your alcohol; beer distributors ‘which eventually gave way to Giant Eagle, a grocery store, being able to sell beer’ and State Stores for your liquor and wine and whatnot. And when I lived there I really only went to the places that sold beer. So since I would now just as well walk into a place that sells everything like we have here in Chicago and walk out with some combination of all of them, I’ll probably stop calling it the beer store and just refer to it as THE STORE.)

So I was at The Store and I was kind of in a hurry to get a couple bottles. I saw a Malbec with a nice description and grabbed it. Then I saw another Malbec (one I’ll be reviewing tonight) that I’d been on the lookout for and grabbed that as well. Then I passed a Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice write-up and a good price and thought “what the hell” and grabbed that too. Can’t really remember what else I grabbed that day, but I’m sure there were a few more. Turns out all three of those that I earlier referred to are from Mendoza, Argentina and TWO of them are from the same producer!

So I thought, “Great! Now I have a theme for a blog post.” and went with it. Yeah, in retrospect, just a random coincidence and not so much funny but I got a chuckle out of it.

On to the wines!!

Chakana Wines – Maipe Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012 – 14.5% alc – Mendoza, Argentina – about $13


This Cab pours dark and inky. Brooding even. Purple, garnet, deep red. I don’t wanna say blood red but I can’t think of another descriptor.

First thing that hits with my nose to the glass is vegetation. That Green Bell Pepper smell. More whiffs and a few swirls brings out super concentrated dark fruits, brown sugar, sugar cookie, vannila, oak and a bit of heat (detectable but not overwhelming). Other baking spices present as well. Little bit of tar and tire rubber eventually. Cracked black pepper as well.

First thing that hits when tasting is the vegetation and the green pepper. Then the big fruits and that sticky brown sugar sticking around. Hints of smoke, tar and pepper in there as well. Medium complexity. Seems a little tight. A little closed. Opened up nicely over time and over the second day.

This might be a good candidate to decant if you know you’re going to finish the bottle in a night. Give it an hour or 2 and you should be good. Otherwise open it and let the bottle breathe for a good hour or so and give your glasses a few good swirls to bring it to life.

Mouthfeel is BIG. Like really big. Huge. Wow. Not syrupy or cloying in any way. Just… BIG.

Finish is medium in length. My notes again mention the tightness of the wine on the first night. Nothing else sticking out. Fresh dark cherry and other dark fruits stick around awhile with a little bit of everything else mixed in. Oak is definitely felt on the finish as well.

(Straight from the Night One notes: “so far so good on night one. really excited to see how this keeps opening up. pretty sure it’s not slowing down any time soon.)

Night two is still big and bold. Acidity and juicy fruits coming to the fore and the vegetal notes of yesterday kept in check.

Okay. So, a big ass wine for 13 bucks? Ageability if you wanna go there for sure. Really a lot going on for the money. Gotta be…


Chakana Wines – Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2012 – 14.5% alc – Mendoza, Argentina – about $20


So this guy is a 100% Malbec aged 18 months in French Oak. Crazy that you can get something that spent the last year and a half in oak for $20 with this kind of quality. Gotta love Argentina and Malbec. No wonder people are eating them up (or drinking as it were) these days.

This one pours deep purple/red. Lookin good my friend.

Aromas of bright red cherries, plum, a little bit of chocolate, and some baking spices. Eventually, after many hours there’s a floral, almost potpourri aroma wafting from the glass. This is complex as hell actually. Everytime you go back to it there’s something else there. Or some other crazy combination of all of the above. Nice.

Taste is of cherry and plum up front. Small hits of acidity. Super slight vegetation but really hardly any at all compared to the Cab. Not apparently drying on day one. Day two, however, gets really grippy in a great way. Cocoa peaks out here and there. Spices, and maybe a little bit of cinnamon as well.

Mouthfeel is medium plus in body. Not as big as the Cab, but still very satisfying for sure.

Finish is relatively long. Call it medium plus. Cherry and cocoa with a small amount of sneaky dryness throughout most of the first day. Day two brought out a lot more of that wonderful grippy dryness as mentioned before. Heat is felt but not tasted on the finish. Baking spices and vanilla come to the party at times as well.

Pie crust and a nice pleasing vanilla dryness come more and more to the fore as it opens up. Slight savory notes hit eventually as well.

This is quite complex. Different flavors coming out each time I touch my lips to the glass. It’s big-ish but not a super bold wine. More silky and elegant instead of a big bruiser like the Cab. Not as much weight in comparison.

This one I’d honestly drink more just for enjoyment than for analyzing and looking at the technical aspects, which you certainly need sometimes. This would be awesome to open with friends and family. It’s an easy drinker, as are most Malbecs, which only adds to their appeal. Definitely recommended.


See you next time folks.



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