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Syrah, 2013. Villa Atuel

Syrah, 2013. Villa Atuel

Item #: C0614R1IA
Vintage: 2013
Varietal: Syrah
Vineyard/Appellation: San Rafael, Argentina
Color: Dark purple
Nose: Blueberry, game and earth
Palate: Earthy and gamey with berry and char
Finish: Full and complete with flecks of tar and earth
Rating: 95
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Drink now through 2018/14% Alcohol

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

In 1996, the Pueyo-Echevarria family of Argentina, acquired one of the most revered wineries in the country, Arizu, also known as Villa Atuel as that is the name of the area in which it is located. Villa Atuel is a huge agribusiness with 2,200 acres of vineyards and 18,000 acres of olive groves. Their olive oils are the best when made in Argentina.

Most of their vineyards are over 2,000 feet above sea level. Unlike most of the wineries in Argentina, Villa Atuel is 50 miles East of the Andes Mountains in the district of San Rafael. It does not get the benefit of the year-round snow pack to draw water for their vineyards. Fortunately, though, they can get plenty of water from the nearby Atuel River. Even with this abundance of water, they still pressurize it and use it to efficiently drip irrigate their vineyards so that none is wasted. It is truly a modern wonder that is both successful and environmentally conscious.

Syrah is a relative newcomer to Argentina, though it is gaining in popularity and stature by leaps and bounds. Syrah is the aristocratic grape of the Northern Rhone Valley where legendary wines from Hermitage and Cote Rotie are born. It is a very dark and intense grape that when grown in the proper climate can produce wines of extraordinary flavor and longevity. While nothing comes close to the Syrahs of the Northern Rhone, this outpost of Mendoza is clearly making super strides.

When we first came upon this beauty, we couldn't believe the price. It is certainly in the quality level of many Limited Series wines. It has density and extract, loads of flavor and a stunning finish. The color is inky black and opaque. The nose is shy at first but begins to open up from hints of blueberry to a balanced basketful with earth to a gamey richness and finally back to blueberries.

Obviously a substantial dish would have to be prepared to stand up to this wine. Barbecue would be a natural as would braised pork shoulder in red wine, garlic and rosemary. This is a wine that will only get better and at this price it's worth stocking up on.

June Classic Series Newsletter (.pdf)