Mendoza, Argentina

Frenchman Philippe Subra, with his wife Brigitte, came to Argentina as the national boss of EDF, the French energy giant - but loved the country so much he cleverly bought some long-established vineyards and settled there, on the south side of Mendoza. He has built a small cellar - boutique indeed, whilst wholly lacking the pretension that word implies!

What distinguishes the Carinae Malbecs is the very old vine fruit from three parcels of ancient vines (now 90, 93 and 100 years old!) just south of Mendoza, at Cruz de Piedra, near the winery, and especially at the renowned Calle Cobos in Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. These are renowned for producing concentrated, inky juice of wonderful quality.

At Carinae (named after a giant, glowing nebula in the Milky Way which lights up the southern sky at night) the winemaking is overseen by the Mendoza arm of top Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland. The reds here show the hallmarks of Rolland’s influence: the grapes are picked late, resulting in a lush, high alcohol style; there is bleeding off (especially for the top cuvées) to maximise the percentage of pip and skin to liquid; long macerations; and generous quantities of French oak. If you like concentrated, lush new world reds, then these are for you.

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