- 96 points -
2014 was not an easy vintage in Río Negro, but I'd say the 2014 Noemía is a triumph over the natural conditions of the year. This is pure Malbec from a 1.5-hectare plot planted in 1932 with a massale selection (Hans told me at Noemía they are anti-clone!) that is certified organically- and biodynamically-farmed. The soils are of alluvial origin, with lime, clay, gravel and limestone 1.2 meters below the surface. The year was quite windy, a common problem in the zone, with a fresh spring and a late summer that was quite intense during the harvest. The result is a ripe wine with 15% alcohol that is unnoticeable, as it's nicely balanced. To me, it's not about the amount of alcohol, it's about balance, and this one is balanced. The grapes are only picked in the morning, before it gets too warm, and they fermented with indigenous yeasts in 2,500-liter cement vats. Leaving the wine in the glass and not stirring it made the spicy oak aromas emerge, in a sign of youth. The aging lasted 18 months and was one-third in 600-liter demi-muids with thick staves and the rest in brand new French barriques from the prestigious coopers Darnajou and Surtep. This change in the oak is noticeable in the wine, which comes through as better integrated. We discussed which past vintage this 2014 could be compared with, and we agreed on 2012, a little riper and not as focused as the 2013. I personally think this 2014 has a better balanced palate than 2012, with finer tannins and a subtle minerality, a texture, rather than a flavor. Somehow the wine became more focused with time in the glass, so I think time in bottle will do it good. He had to do some sorting of the grapes, so final quantities were lower, so some 4,000 bottles were produced. It has been in bottle since December 2015.
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