B Crux 2007

fournierThis had to be a no-brainer.

When I saw O. Fournier B Crux 2007, and heard it was a red blend made in Argentina by a family from Spain,  I thought I might be in wine heaven. Spanish and Argentine reds top my wine hit parade, and here they were wrapped up in one package!

Here’s why I love Argentine wines. The Mendoza region of Argentina, which hugs the lower slopes of the towering Andes mountains, has possibly the world’s best micro-climate for big, red wines. The folks at O. Fournuer explain it this way:

The La Consulta region (where the winery is located) is located in the well-known Uco Valley, approximately 1,200 metres (3,950 ft.) above sea level. At this altitude, there is a significant fluctuation between daytime and night-time temperatures of up to 20º-25ºC. This variance particularly favours the production of wines with an excellent colour and suitable for long ageing in oak barrels.

The region´s stony and sandy soils offer excellent drainage during the summer season. The lack of organic material, limited rainfall and prevailing winds are also conductive to high quality, healthy grapes. Furthermore, the water that irrigates the estates comes pure and clean from the snow thawing on the Andes.

Intense sunlight, cold nights, long hang-time, crummy soil, limited rainfall. All these things combine to produce intensely flavored but  well-balanced grapes.

And what about the Spanish part of the wine equation? I love their reds too, both the traditional Tempranillos from Rioja or Ribera del Duero and the more New World style Garnacha and Monastrell from regions such as Jumilla, Priorat or Campo de Borja. If a Spanish winemaker were given the opportunity to work with Argentina’s natural resources — watch out…

So here’s what this winery is all about. O. Fournier was created by Spanish businessman Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier (got all that?), who was educated at the prestigious Wharton School of Business. First his business acumen, and then his developing passion for wine, led him to South America. He established wineries in Chile as well as Argentina, and also in the Ribera del Duero region in his own country. Every one of his ventures has earned him huge respect and top ratings from the international wine press.

The wine I tasted, O. Fournier B Crux 2007, comes from one of several lines he makes in Argentina. And surprisingly, it’s not dominated by Argentina’s signature grape. This B Crux is a blend of 60% Tempranillo (aha! the Spanish grape), 10% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah. Wow, that’s quite a mix, and shows that Gil-Fournier isn’t afraid to diversify beyond the country’s tried-and-true grape.

The winemaking shows incredible care (and what would be high cost in other parts of the world) for a relatively modestly-priced bottle ($25). Grapes are picked literally by hand, and sorted (by hand) twice. The winery moves the wine through the process gently, which maximizes flavor and minimizes harsh elements.

The B Crux  blend is a whole lot of wine for the money. It begins with deep, opaque color (because it’s unfiltered) and follows with an intense nose of dark berry fruit, cedar, and  a hint of spice. The palate is concentrated and deep — not surprising, since it saw 28 days of skin contact, which guarantees full extraction of color and flavor. I tasted plums and blackberries, vanilla, and cedar, with a finish that didn’t let go.

You might suppose this wine is a fruit bomb, with an alcohol content of 15%. But after just 4 1/2 years of age it drinks mature and well-balanced. I know I’ll be looking for more wines from this winery. And I say, “Viva l’Argentina et l’Espana!” Cheers!

 

 

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