100% Tannat from Tolombon, Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina.
SRP of $20 and available for as low as $17. Sample submitted for review.
From the winery:
“Ancient Argentine lore tells the story of a mystical elf named Coquena who lives in the high mountains of Salta province and protects the vicuñes, animals native to the Andes that are prized for their wool. The locals will tell you that Coquena is all-seeing – he travels at night fiercely protecting his animals against anyone who sets out to do them harm. High up in these same mountains, in the town of Tolombón, sits a vineyard at 5,576 feet above sea level where the grapes for Coquena wine come from. The vines from this farm consistently produce such lush, well-balanced wines that the Etchart family believes the Coquena’s day job is to keep an eye on the vines that bear his name. Coquena wines are produced by Arnaldo, Marcos and Pablo Etchart, the sons of Arnaldo B. Etchart, one of the great wine pioneers of Salta Province. They believe that great wine comes from great grapes, and give special care to their low-yielding vineyards to create unique, truly pleasurable wines.
Tannat is a bit of a study in contrasts. An old grape variety in France where it is typically used as a blending component, yet an up and coming grape variety in South America that I expect you will be hearing much more about in the next couple years. You’ll certainly hear about it here in the next few weeks as we delve into several from Uruguay where it is considered their signature variety.
So far; however, the Tannat we’ve sampled has played a supporting role — at most hitting 30% of the blend. That wine was the recently reviewed Hermanos Malbec/Tannat blend, also from Argentina.
Today we go all out, as in 100% Tannat. As the headline suggests this big, powerful wine is not for everybody, but if you’re up to it you may just find a whole lot to love…
The 2011 Coquena Tannat begins with aromas of dark fruits (blackberry, black cherry and black currant) along with dried herbs and a hint of coffee. Tasting the wine reveals that despite its obvious power, it has the balance to pull it off remarkably well. The fruit, while a bit constrained at first, really opens up with some air, the oak is nicely integrated and the wine has good acidity. The coffee notes from the nose come back after the fruit and carry the wine into the long, grippy finish featuring mouth drying tannins. I love this big, powerful beauty but it’s not for the faint of heart!
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.
Overall Rating: 7.8
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