Bottled in March 2015, the 2014 Estate Selection Malbec seems to have changed its origin to Altamira (but it's not explicit on the label). The wine matured in used 225-liter French oak barrels and cement vats. The nose is ripe and fruit-driven, with aromas of dark cherries and plums plus a subdued minerality and a touch of spices. Most noticeable is the really well-integrated oak (only founder and well-seasoned barrels are used for this wine). The palate is juicy, fresh and has good balance with a somewhat bittersweet finish that is attractive and commercial. This is a great expression of fresh and elegant Malbec from Altamira at a very attractive price point. 130,000 bottles produced.
This family winery was created in 2000. They achieved organic certification for their vineyards in Agrelo and winery in Lujan de Cuyo, while they keep working to certify the rest of their vineyards. They have also introduced concrete and egg-shaped vats, oak foudres (3,000- and 5,000-liter) and new vats for the aging of their wines. Yearly output is around 1.5 million bottles. They are advised by Alberto Antonini, who started working here in 2007, because there were many complaints about how oaky their wines were, so their wines might follow the path of his own Altos las Hormigas. In 2009 they contracted with Pedro Parra to better understand their soils. I tasted with winemaker Gabriel Bloise, who explained the change they have been implementing since the year 2010. He's been there since 2006. In 2010 they bought two vineyards in Valle de Uco, more specifically in Altamira.
2014 was a difficult vintage (but nothing compared with the 2015) as it started with frost, Zonda winds, a very warm summer and then rain (I was there in February and they told me it never rains there... and it was raining all the time!). Add to it there is a shortage of Cabernet in that vintage, when it suffered a lot.
The Maipe Reserve line sold in the U.S. is marketed in the rest of the world as Chakana Estate (not to be confused with the Chakana Estate Selection). This is confusing, but in the future they want to rename their wines to show the origin, Chakana Luján de Cuyo, Chakana Valle de Uco, Chakana Altamira, etc. Change in progress. Good quality to price ratio in general. I sensed a change in the Chakana wines to more freshness, retained ripeness and better drinkability. Stay tuned.