93 Points- James Suckling
"Serious and rich aromas with blueberry and blackberry character and hints of almonds. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh and bright finish. Drink now or hold. - James Suckling"
Ultra is the perfect word for this over-achieving South American gem, which competes with the best of Cabs from Bordeaux as well as Napa. 93 big ones from James Suckling, who notes: “Serious and rich aromas with blueberry and blackberry character … Full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh and bright finish." And 90 points from the Wine Enthusiast, which writes: “Structured and sound on the palate, with a strong tannic framework, this tastes of well-defined cherry and cassis. Spice and chocolaty notes on the finish are barrel driven.”
Sourced from Kaiken’s 80-year-old vines in the Vistalba Vineyard, an awe-inspiring site planted at 1,125 meters above sea level and 800 meters from the Mendoza River, a significant geographical factor which influences the temperature and humidity to great effect. As a former riverbed, the soil here is alluvial and rich in clay (20%) and is eerily similar to the soil composition of the best sites in Bordeaux.
All fruit was hand picked and the final blend includes 5% Malbec, also from the Vistalba Vineyard. After a slow fermentation that completed over an entire month, the young wine was aged in French oak for 12 months (1/3 new) and an additional year in bottle before release.
Winemaker Aurelio Montes Jr. has worked magic in Australia, Chile, Argentina and closer to home in the Napa Valley earning accolades at Franciscan Estate. We’d stick our necks out to wager that if this particular find came from California the price would be double, at the very least. A true find for any Cabernet devotee.
Reasons why we love it:
Kaiken is the brainchild of vintner Aurelio Montes, celebrated proprietor and winemaker of Chile’s Vina Montes winery, one of South America’s most awarded estates.
While the Kaiken label was founded in 2002, the wines are made in an historic winery established back in 1920. Techniques are a combination of traditional and ultra modern with manual selection of grapes and a long, cool fermentation period.
Montes named his Argentine project after a breed to native geese, the Caiquen (but pronounced kaiken). He is joined at the Kaiken property by his son, Aurelio Jr., who is well on his way to earning his very own accolades as a seriously talented oenologist.
Kaiken Ultra Cabernet has an intense ruby red color. The wine showcases red fruits flavors with black cherry aromas accompanied by chocolate and spices that enhance its elegance and complexity. On the mouth, there is a unique combination between the Cabernet Sauvignon's intensity, provided by the vines located in our vineyard in Agrelo, combined by the silkiness of the tannins given by the old vines found in the first zone. This wine has a very long finish. Its aftertaste shows chocolate notes and caramelized, condensed milk (or dulce de leche) flavors.
The winery was built in 1920 in the district of Vistalba, Mendoza by Italo Calise and acquired by Kaiken in 2007.
Today the capacity is of almost 7 million liters distributed in small vats from 12,000 to 13,000 liters, which allow limited productions to be individually vinified, thus maintaining its high quality. On the other hand the winery counts with 100,000 liter tanks for long time cellaring.
The winery is highly functional having all the quality standards required by current oenological practices, allowing the flow of wine in the cellar to be handled both gravitationally or using traditional pumps.
In general all concrete tanks allow a very efficient use of energy at the time of controlling the temperature of the wines during its vinification.
Kaiken currently owns three vineyards of the highest quality in different terroirs that allow us to self-produce fifty percent of our grapes.
Before the grapes arrive at the winery we use the best practices to ensure that the fruit of each terroir reaches its maximum potential maximizing the quality of our wines.
Once the wine is ready, most of the production continues in the barrel room, counting with 1,524 barrels for aging our Kaiken wines.
With a great fruity character and incredibly soft tannins, this wine is wonderfully versatile and can be paired with many different kinds of dishes.