Although Argentina is best known internationally for fine, full-bodied Malbecs, it is that country’s old vine Cabernet Sauvignons that garner the greatest scores and provide the grandest red wines to grace the tables of the great steak houses of Buenos Aires and Mendoza. The deeply colored 2012 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (91+ points from both Robert Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate as well as from Stephen Tanzer) is one such grand Cabernet. It offers plenty to excite the senses, beginning with bold liqueur-like aromas and flavors of blackcurrant, mulberry, tobacco and dark chocolate, which tantalize the nose and caress the palate. In the mouth, the wine unfolds slowly, almost imperceptibly at first. Although powerful and complex, this Cabernet’s ripe seamless tannins provide structure, but happily not the customary mouth-rending bite that one encounters in Cabernet Sauvignons from younger vines. Thanks to tiny yields from ripe old vines, the 2012 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon offers a long, satisfying finish and superb drinking pleasure now, and it should continue to do so for years to come. Allow this young, complex Cabernet thirty minutes to an hour of aeration in a decanter before enjoying it at cool room temperature (60º-64º F).
In Argentina, there would be little doubt as to the proper accompaniment to Casarena’s 2012 Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon or for that matter to any high quality Cabernet or Malbec. It would be beef, beef, and more beef, but in the case of the Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet, we think not just any cut of beef. Our preferences lie with Prime Rib au jus, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Beef Tenderloin encrusted with black pepper and herbs. Grilled Stuffed Veal Chops served with roasted Red Bliss potatoes and root vegetables provide wonderful companionship to Casarena’s sophisticated 2012 Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, too. Rack of Lamb and savory pork roasts make fine accompaniments as well. Soft cow’s milk cheeses also pair splendidly with the Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet, and they provide the ideal accompaniment to showcase the wine’s many attributes. Buen Provecho!
Casarena is a young boutique winery that enjoys a well-deserved reputation for producing wines of uncompromising quality at all levels of its portfolio. In a land of extremes and in a viticultural region known equally for oceans of cheap, hunky, one-dimensional wines as well as expensive, complex, full-bodied masterpieces, Casarena shines as a beacon of quality and value. Situated in Mendoza’s premier viticultural areas of Agrelo and Lujan de Cuyo, Casarena’s ultimate goal is to become Mendoza’s greatest vineyard project. Casarena utilizes Mendoza’s finest terroirs at differing elevations to produce world class wines.
Eno Rolland (renowned Bordeaux oenologist Michel Rolland’s team of consultants) oversees the vinification at Casarena. So, not surprisingly, Casarena’s definitive mantra is “less quantity, more quality.” All of the grapes for Casarena’s wines come from the estate’s own vineyards and the resulting wines are made by controlling every aspect of the vinification process. Casarena sets high standards for its wines. It sells in bulk any juice that does not come up to its standards in order to maintain the consistency, quality and integrity of the wine sold as Casarena – a rarity in Argentina. Alejandro Sejanovich, of Catena fame, spearheads the viticulture at Casarena, ensuring that every plant reaches its maximum potential.
The Casarena line of wine hails from carefully selected parcels of vineyards, and has been aged in 100% new French Oak. Only small batches of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Malbec with intense color and aromatics qualify as Estate Reserve or Single Vineyard offerings. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Malbec constitute the lion’s share of the estate’s production, with the limited bottling (only 450 cases produced) of the Casarena Owen’s Vineyard serving as the winery’s flagship Cabernet offering. All of the grapes for the Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon emanate from a tiny high altitude plot that was planted in the 1930s, and whose vines average 85 years of age. Much of the estate’s Malbec also comes from parcels of old vines that Casarena purchased shortly after founding the winery.
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