Thursday, 3 July 2014

Angulo Innocenti – Vineyards in the Sky

After tasting through a dozen wines at a recent Wines of Argentina event, I wondered why it had taken me so long to discover the delights of this wine region. Bursting with sumptuous fruit and refreshing acidity, there was a lot to like about these wines. Singapore benefits from a wide selection of wines from countries that can be seen as comfort zones – Bordeaux, Burgundy and Australian; this tasting was a reminder not to ignore wines from other countries lest we miss out on some truly delicious alternatives.

A producer that stood out at the tasting was Angulo Innocenti wines. At the start, the table was pretty much deserted, as this is a small winery and does not yet have distribution in Singapore. The crowd around the table grew rapidly larger as word of mouth spread. Representing the winery was Maria Luz Innocenti, a fourth generation member of the Angulo Innocenti family. The trip to Singapore was one of her longest flights, a 36 hour journey that required multiple transfers between cities. 

Angulo Innocenti is a joint venture between Mariano Innocenti and his uncle Alejandro Angulo. Both families have winemaking roots, the Angulos hailing from the Basque country and the Innocentis from Tuscany. The winery is located in the Uco Valley south of the city of Mendoza, known for producing some of Argentina’s best Malbecs. The vineyards are planted at high altitudes of 1,200 m with the majestic Andes a constant presence in the background. These vineyards in the sky benefit from strong sunlight during the day and cool temperatures at night, a combination that yields richly concentrated fruit and a crisp acidity to the wines. 

This is a very new project – the first wines were bottled as recently as 2010, but they show lots of exuberance and brilliant structure. According to Maria, the fruit is picked and fermented in several batches. The first picking aims to select fruit for its aromatic qualities, while the second and third pickings aim to add structure to the blend. A check on shows that the wines are distributed only in the United States currently, but if there is any update on local distribution I will mention it here. 

Tasting notes:

Angulo Innocenti Nonni 2013 – A blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, un-oaked. Deep purple in appearance, with youthful primary fruit aromas. The palate shows a soft and supple texture, with generous fruit and soft, rounded tannins. 

Angulo Innocenti Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – Fermented in a combination of stainless steel tanks and concrete vats using indigenous yeasts. Oak aged for 7 months. Deep ruby with sweet black fruit, lively acidity and high but balanced alcohol. Soft, rounded edges and ready to drink. 

Angulo Innocenti Malbec 2012 – Same winemaking as the Cabernet Sauvignon, but here the wine shows more aromatic notes of violets and rosemary. Very fresh with a generous dollop of cassis fruit and a full body.

Angulo Innocenti Unisono 2011 – A big wine at 15.8% alcohol, but it carries its weight well. The addition of 7% Syrah contributes some spicy notes to the blend, which is mostly made up of Malbec (67%) and Cabernet Franc (26%). Blackberry jam, pepper and a hint of dark chocolate on the palate. Long, warm finish.

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