Antucura enjoys a reputation for fashioning bold, age-worthy wines that are literally packed with flavor, and the 2011 Antucura Calcura certainly reinforces the winery’s enviable reputation for over-delivering. The 2011 Antucura Calcura offers a visually intense ruby color, brilliant aromatics, and stunning concentration. A blend of 40% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 27% Malbec, the 2011 Antucura Calcura is an outstanding meritage-style offering and the finest Calcura to emanate from this illustrious winery. It offers ripe blackberry, plum, currant, and spice flavors that truly fill the senses. Velvety and smooth upon entry into the mouth, Calcura explodes on the palate with a riot of flavors. Tremendous fruit and complexity are backed by ripe tannins and 15% alcohol, the latter being nearly imperceptible until after you have consumed it – consider yourself forewarned. Given the complexity, size, and even the elegance of this wine, it is no wonder that it has received such favorable press. The 2011 Antucura Calcura received 94 Points from Patricio Tapia’s Descorchados, South America’s illustrious wine guide. Patricio Tapia, a journalist and Bordeaux trained winemaker, also writes for Wine & Spirits Magazine, where he covers the wines from South America and Spain, and Decanter. The 2011 Antucura Calcura certainly constitutes one of the best quality and values in meritage-style wines in the U.S. market, and it will only improve with an additional year or two in bottle. Allow the 2011 Antucura Calcura at least 15 minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (60°-65° F). Enjoy!
Food and wine complement one another, and most of the time our preference is to keep that marriage together for optimum enjoyment, but sometimes we just want to drink a big mouth-filling red with nothing but the wine to soothe us. The 2011 Antucura Calcura is just such a red. Enjoy it on its own or with any hearty meal. Black beans and rice with plenty of olive oil and tabasco makes a fine companion and won’t cause the 2011 Calcura to fade. Sizzling beef fajitas provide another tasty accompaniment. And of course, one can always rely on Argentina’s traditional accompaniment to their finest red wines – steak. The bold fruit and ripe tannins of the 2011 Antucura Calcura accentuate the flavors in beef and cut through any fat in the meat. Tomato based pastas and hearty Mediterranean dishes play nicely with this wine as well. Buen Provecho!
Antucura Winery is the “little jewel” of Mendoza’s Uco Valley. It is located at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the town of Vista Flores. The winery’s high altitude vineyards are planted to classic Bordeaux varietals where grapes bask in the long dry sunny days for which Mendoza’s Uco Valley is renowned. Antucura draws its name from the indigenous Mapuche tribe who called vineyard rocks “sun stones,” while the Calcura Vineyard takes its name from the “blue stones” that proliferate in the vineyard, imparting limestone to the soil and providing excellent drainage.
Antucura specializes in producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Argentina’s signature varietal Malbec, all of which are bottled as single varietals as well as classic Bordeaux blends such as Calcura (a meritage selection of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec). The winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot plants were purchased from a nursery in Pomerol, Bordeaux that supplies the great Château Petrus and other renowned Bordeaux châteaux. Antucura’s high density planting of 5,500 plants per hectare limits yields and helps control and monitor the production of each grape variety. With plenty of sun, stony soils and a wide temperature range between day and night, Antucura’s grapes develop intense varietal characteristics as well as an elegance that is rarely seen in other Argentinean wines. At Antucura, every step in the viticultural process is managed to the smallest detail by French winemaker Hervé Chagneau and owner Anne-Caroline Biancheri. Together, they fashion exceptional wines that blend the special attributes of Uco Valley terroir with classic French wine-making to give a sense of place and elegance to Antucura’s wines.
Meritage (a combination of “merit” and “heritage”) is California’s answer to Bordeaux. It is also a term that has come into vogue in the last decade to describe other New World blends that are made from traditional red Bordeaux varietals. Therefore, a meritage wine is essentially a blend of three or more traditional red Bordeaux grapes, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc being the most notable participants. Petit Verdot is the other possible player. However, there are no legal or proscribed percentages for each grape variety in a meritage wine, so producers may vary how much of each varietal finds its way into the final offering, much as Bordeaux châteaux vary their cépages, or blends, depending upon the estate’s desired style of wine and the vagaries of each individual vintage. Nearly all meritage wines eschew the name of a single varietal on the label because varietal bottling in California and in most other states requires that at least 75% of a single variety be present in a blend to be labeled as a varietal. The minimum requirement for varietal labeling in Europe and in most other New World producing wine countries is at least 80%.
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