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18th May 2018

Matias Riccitelli - Mendoza's young rising star

I was in Argentina recently, and had to opportunity to taste a vast amount of wines from a huge number of producers both new to me and familiar names.

I had last been in Mendoza in 2000, and wow! So much has changed. Lots of developments have been happening in Argentina recently, and it is young winemakers like Matias Riccitelli who are at the helm. No wonder that he was awarded Tim Atkin MW's Argentina Young Winemaker of the Year 2016



In general in Argentina, vineyards are creeping out from their heartland in the vineyards around the city of Mendoza and climbing up into the mountains – to the very edge of cultivation potential. Here, at altitude, the growing season is extended resulting in complex and full flavoured grapes which make for the most multi-layered wines.

Riccitelli's new winery is located in Las Compuertas, adjacent to the winery and vineyards of the celebrated Cheval des Andes. Las Compuertas is the highest part of Luján de Cuyo, itself the most prestigious region of Mendoza.
Here the intense UV from the sun, and the altitude-given growing season conspire to produce the best fruit of Argentina. In perfect well drained and largely sandy soils (meaning that the vines are often left naturally ungrafted), the very essence of Malbec is produced.
The charming and fun-loving Matias, the son of a winemaker from Morton, and his family also make wines from across the country – from Cafayete in Salta (where Matias was born) to the cool vineyards of the Patagonian Rio Negro. The labels (using Marcus Lopez's photography) are funky - cool and somehow retro at the same time, and emphasise that even great wine should still be about fun!



Matias Riccitelli Old Vines from Patagonia Malbec 2016
Guernico, Rio Negro, Patagonia
Fresh and vibrant fruit aromas, some violet and fresh herby spices. Really well made and balanced, cool without being lean. Very good. Really like this. 18

Matías Riccitelli Old Vines from Patagonia Merlot 2015
Allen, Rio Negro, Patagonia
Intense and spicy oak and fruit aromas. Inviting. Warm and chocolatey scents. Delicious and well extracted. Ripe tannins, no aggression. Very soft, ripe and delicious. Really good. This guy makes some great wines. 18



Matias Riccitelli “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” Bonarda 2016
Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo
Turns out that Argentina's "Bonarda" isn't Bonarda at all, but Mondeuse or perhaps Corbeau. You live and learn!!
Deep colour, spicier violet Syrah-like aromas. Juicy and concentrated, but with some slightly hard-edged tannins. Long finish. 16

Matias Riccitelli “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” Malbec 2015
Vistalba, Uco, Mendoza
Juicy and deep purple fruit colour, aroma and flavours. Some oaky aromas. Deep and spicy flavours. Rich and concentrated. Good depth and length. Good. 16.5

Tinto de la Casa 2017
80% las Compuertas 20% Gualtallary. Malbec.
Deep colour. Chalky earthy funkiness and spice. Fruity and inviting. Hint Carbonic, Some whole bunches, at first. Soft tannins, sweet fruit, fresh and balanced. Some leafiness, but in harmony. Really good. 17

Matias Riccitelli Republica del Malbec 2015
Las Compuertas Luján de Cuyo
Completely destemmed, concrete fermented, mixed oak ageing.
Intense purple colour. Very spicy and rich aromas. Black fruit and depth, but mainly fruit not oak, and with a freshness, and length. Delicious, spiky tannins on the finish, could do with some time. Very good. 18



Matías Riccitelli Viñedos del Montaña Chardonnay 2017
Gualtallary 1400 m asl
Some rounded warm honey oak aromas. Ripe peach fruit. Hint phenolic. Rich but with fresh limey acidity (no MLF). Some lime blossom floral. Warm and lemon curd flavoured. Long finish. Good. 17

Matias Riccitelli Blanco de la Casa 2017
Gualtallary / La Consulta / Las Carreras
40 SB 40 Sem 20 C
Rich and fruity aromas, waxed lemon, honeydew melon and limey citrus with a floral edge. No oak, but rich. Very well balanced and extremely drinkable. A terrific wine for the money. 17.5

Matias Riccitelli Old Vines from Patagonia Semillon 2017
Allen, Patagonia
Some smoky struck match sulphide aromas. Plenty of herby angelica, lemon and peach aromas and flavours. Lovely olive oil texture and depth. Rich but fresh and well restrained alcohol (12.5%). Really delicious and complex finish. Very good indeed 18



I don't remember being as wowed by a range of wines from one person (across the price spectrum - the Apple Does Not Fall Far From the Tree wines are inexpensive) for a long time.

¡Salud!

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