Kaiken Ultra Malbec Mendoza 2014

Inky dark ruby-purple color; blackberry, cherry, cedar, vanilla, raspberry in vivid, balanced, wonderful nose; plum, pepper, cherry, blackberry, vanilla, chip of chocolate on the palate.

Lush, plush with depth and sophistication of flavors; this is a quality pure malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, made by separate division of Chile’s Vina Montes. Some silky tannins on the attack; the wine spent a year in French oak, but the wood is balanced and by no means overdone. The tannins are silky at first, then provide some grip along with some acidity and tartness on the long, intriguing finish. Medium-full body, some heat with 14.5% alcohol that presents on that long finish. Overall, delicious quality.

Viña Kaiken was established in 2002 south of the city of Mendoza by Aurelio Montes and his son, Aurelio Montes Jr. The Montes family is from Chile, where the well-respected Montes Winery is located. And thus the Kaiken name. It comes the from the Caiquenes (wild geese) that fly over Patagonia between Argentina and Chile. The Montes team flies over the Andes to blend Argentinian and Chilean expertise.

Aurelio Jr. has run the winery since 2010 and has become an Argentine citizen, living there with his family. He graduated from Catholic University in Santiago de Chile specializing in grape growing, followed by time at Rosemount and Cape Mentelle in Australia, Franciscan Estate Winery in Napa, time in Burgundy, and a Montes competitor, Viña Ventisquero before working with his father to build this brand. Kaiken is developing as a premium label, and this Ultra Malbec qualifies.

Kaiken Ultra Malbec Mendoza 2014 gets better the longer it sits in your glass and air rounds out the wine’s depth and deliciousness. If you are a malbec fan, you must give this superb bottle a try. $17-22

Kaiken Wines website

Additional photos: Kaiken winery, Kaiken (Caiquenes) wild geese; Kaiken vineyard shots