Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kaiken 2005 Ultra Malbec (Argentina)

Back in 2007 I called this "an absolutely stupendous bottle of wine" in a private review.  I also would have recommended it to my Vintages readers (September 1, 2007) ... now some 6 years from vintage date I am not as enthralled with this wine, though it is still quite enjoyable.  In its youth the wine was vibrant with flavour both big and subtle (from my review: "Woody, oaky, coffee, licorice and black fruit are all in the nose; while black fruit, black licorice and [with] a mouth-drying tannin backbone") - but as it is aging it is showing its heavy handed 14.5% alcohol and the wood is overly compensating for the loss of fruit.  This was the first version of the Ultra to appear on the shelves here in Ontario, and being a big fan of the regular Kaiken I jumped all over this one ... the cork gave me a load of trouble breaking halfway through opening, and then broke into three more pieces before I was finally able to get it out.  With the cork extracted I had to pour some out to get the grit from the cork out of the wine.  But then it was time to taste and smell (not necessarily in the order).  The smell was spicy as hell, but also gave up quite of bit of alcohol burn that more than tickled the nose hairs; there was also an element of dark fruit and dried leaves to be found.  Flavours started out dark fruited and very woodsy, the woodsy calmed down with time in glass (say 45 minutes) but what took over was the alcohol heat, on some sips it almost burned going down ... I'm not in the habit of shaking a bottle of wine like I am a bottle of V8 juice to mix in all the flavours, but maybe that is what this bottle needed to integrate the alcohol ... just a thought.  Overall it was still a good wine, but not the stupendous bottle I remember from back in September 2007.

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