There may be no other wine region in the world that is more like Napa than Argentina’s Mendoza Valley. Much like Napa – wineries are easily reachable from the wine capital city of Mendoza with many people simply biking from winery to winery. And much like Napa – there are a few very special AVAs with personality and quality in a totally different stratosphere.
The vineyards east of town are what put Argentinian wine on the map. Big operations that churn out drinkable but mass production wine in gargantuan quantities. Out of town heading to the south is the hit parade of tiny subzones making world-class wines – many that rarely make it stateside.
This is the area of tradition – where vines are typically much, much older having escaped constant replanting as wineries elsewhere constantly chased worldwide varietal trends. Arid Perdriel – with some of the oldest vines in the world can be found here – blocked from rain by the Andes. Las Compuertas with some of the poorest soils in the country are right here too.
But continue the drive just a bit further south and you’ll find the town of Agrelo and Catena winery. This is where the most complex wines in the entire country are grown – high up on the steep slopes overlooking the town and in the shadows of the mountains – combining the effect of extremely great drainage with the ‘rainshadow’ of the Andes.
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91+ Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
As with many wines this time around, I got more than one vintage to taste, including the 2017 Appellation Agrelo Cabernet Sauvignon. Next to the 2016, you could see the different climatic conditions of the two vintages, with this 2017 coming through riper and rounder. In any case, it’s a textbook example of Agrelo, with juicy fruit and polished, sweet tannins. This is also a favorite in 2017 and shows a very classical Bordeaux-like profile, peppery, spicy and elegant.
91 Points- Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media
Bright red-ruby. Cassis, leather, musky licorice, spices and tobacco leaf on the nose. The palate delivers captivating subtle sweetness and insidious flavor intensity, with its red and darker berry flavors showing excellent delineation. Harmonious acidity lifts the middle palate but the wine’s firm spine of dusty tannins calls for a couple years of patience. This serious Cabernet finishes with excellent length.