Featured Reviews

Michel Torino – Argentine Wines from the Giant Penaflor

12 February,2014
Michel Torino is a brand of Bodega El Esteco of Cafayate, one of the wine companies that are part of Grupo Penaflor, the Argentine giant that figures among the top of the world’s most significant players. 6,300 ha of vineyards are owned between the five wineries in Grupo Penaflor, and fruit is also sourced under contract. El Esteco was founded in 1892 and is the main winery in Cafayate owning 750 ha of vines at the high altitude of 1,700 m a.s.l. in the Calchaqui Valley. The bodegas has several tiers, and I review a selection from the varietal ‘Michel Torino Coleccion’ range, the premium ‘Don David’ tier, named after David Michel and the top end ‘Ciclos’ and ‘Altimus’ labels. The wines are imported and available through www.winesale.co.nz and the wholesale ‘Blackboard Wines’ division. www.micheltorino.com.ar


Michel Torino ‘Coleccion’ Calchaqui Valley Malbec 2013

Malbec from Argentina

Very deep, saturated black-purple colour, very youthful in appearance. This has a soft, full, up-front nose of ripe black fruits with boysenberries, plum jam, liquorice and confectionary. Medium-full bodied, fulsome and sweetly rich fruit flavours of plums, jam, and boysenberries fill the mouth with succulence and lusciousness. The fruit is encased by grainy tannin extraction forming a robust and firm mouthfeel. Soft acidity enhances the roundness and breadth, and the flavours flow to a full, sweet and textured finish. This is a full, gutsy and juicy Malbec with sweet jammy flavours. Serve with barbecued fare over the next 3 years. 100% Malbec, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 5 months in oak. 16.5/20 Feb 2014 RRP $13.99

Michel Torino ‘Coleccion’ Calchaqui Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 5 months in oak. Very dark, near impenetrable black-red colour, a little lighter on edge. The bouquet us tight with uncomplicated blackcurrant, olive and leafy aromas, showing classical varietal character. A little gaminess unfolds. Medium-full bodied, sweet blackcurrant, leaf and herbal flavours show with freshness and good acid liveliness and are supported by fine tannins. The extraction moderates the sweetness, providing good balance and an elegance to the core and palate line, leading to a light, grainy-textured finish. This is a straightforward, well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon with sweet fruit. Match with roasted red meats over the next 4+ years. 16.5+/20 Feb 2014 RRP $13.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Torrontes 2013

Other White from Argentina

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues. The nose is elegant and very finely concentrated with tightly bound aromas of exotic florals, rose-petals, spice and nuts, along with an integrated sulphide thread adding interest. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, this is a slender wine in proportion with linear flavours of florals, apricots, exotic fruits and musk. The mouthfeel has slippery acidity and a fine, textured phenolic line in good balance, providing drive. The palate is carried to a firm-textured, crisp and dry finish with good length. This is a slender and elegantly proportioned Torrontes with textbook exotic fruit aromas and flavours. Match with seafood and most white meat courses over the next 2+ years. Hand-picked fruit, 30% cold macerated, 60% traditionally fermented and 10% aged 3 months in American oak with MLF, the wine at 14.0% alc. and 3.45 g/ L RS. 16.5+/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from Argentina


Hand-picked fruit, 20% indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc. and 3.6 g/L RS, 30% of the wine aged 6 months in new American oak with MLF. Bright, very pale straw-green colour, light on rim. This has an elegant, but intense nose of green citrus and yellow stonefruit with subtle background savoury, nutty oak elements, and a steeliness. Medium-bodied, light flavours of citrus and stonefruits combine with creamy, nutty, barrel-ferment textures to provide a rich core with good palate presence and richness. The mouthfeel is cut by crisp, fresh acidity and the wine has balance and excellent vitality and flow that leads to a subtly rich and long finish. This is a refreshing, green citrus-fruited Chardonnay with subtle creaminess and richness. Serve with seafood and poultry over the next 3+years. 17.0/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Malbec 2011

Malbec from Argentina

Hand-picked fruit, fermented to 14.0% alc., 70% of the wine aged 12 months in American and French oak. Very dark, dense, black-red colour, saturated, with youthful purple hues. The nose is restrained, showing ripe black berry and plum aromas with a melange of blackcurrant jam, dark red floral perfumes, spices and dark herbs. Medium-full bodied, this is elegantly proportioned with sweet, fleshy and succulent blackberry fruit flavours, revealing some jamminess and confectionary elements. The fruit is balanced by fine-grained tannins and good acidity, providing a lively mouthfeel and plenty of energy. The flavours are up-front, but recede, carrying through to a sweet, moderately long finish. This is a sweet-fruited Malbec with a fine-textured, lively mouthfeel. Serve with Middle Eastern red meat dishes over the next 4+ years. 17.5-/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina

Hand-picked fruit, fermented to 14.0% alc., 70% of the wine aged 12 months in American and French oak. Very dark, near impenetrable black-red colour with ruby-garnet hues on rim. The bouquet is tightly bound and a little shy, showing pure blackcurrant, cassis, olive and dark herb aromas, lifted by some oak notes. Medium-full bodied, classical blackcurrant varietal fruit flavours are the feature on palate, the fruit poised with fine-grained, powdery tannins and fresh, lacy acidity in support. The freshness and vibrancy carry the flavours to a lingering finish with interwoven fruit flavours of currants and herbs. This is an elegant and classical expression of Cabernet Sauvignon with sweet fruit and fine structure. Match with roast lamb or serve with hard cheeses over the next 5-6+ years. 17.5+/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Syrah 2011

Syrah from Argentina

Very full, saturated black-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a very full, broad and voluminous bouquet with soft aromas of ripe black berry fruits intermixed with savoury black pepper, Middle Eastern spices, violetty floral lift, and bacony, toasty oak with subtle layers of meat and funky game. Full-bodied, sweet and juicy flavours of black fruits, blackberry jam and pepper are complexed by savoury game, cedary oak and spices. There is a reductive, charry element adding to the interest, and the flavours fill the front palate. The mouthfeel is firm and dry from fine-grained extraction, the acidity soft and in the background. The fruit is carried by the structure to a dry, grainy finish. This is a bold, sweet and savoury Syrah with a fine, firm and dry mouthfeel. Serve with casseroles and slow-cooked red meat dishes. Hand-picked fruit, fermented to 14.0% alc., 70% of the wine aged 12 months in American and French oak. 17.0+/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Don David Reserve’ Cafayate Valley Tannat 2011

Other Red from Argentina

Very dark, black-purple hued red, impenetrable and very youthful in appearance. The bouquet features tightly bound aromas of blackberry fruit infused with savoury earth and mineral notes, lifted with black and red floral elements. The nose reveals dark herbs unfolding from the core with some breathing. Medium-full bodied, a tightly packed and concentrated core of black berried fruits is the feature on palate. The fruit sweetness is moderated by chalky, mineral notes and a firm, fine, dry tannins. The extraction provides structure, but the palate has good linearity and drive, and the flavours carry through to a sustained finish lifted by oak nuances. This is a concentrated and densely packed Tannat with black fruits and mineral flavours along with a firm structure. Serve with slow-cooked red meats and hard cheeses over the next 5-7 years. Hand-picked fruit, fermented to 14.0% alc., 70% of the wine aged 12 months in American and French oak. 17.5/20 Feb 2014 RRP $17.99

Michel Torino ‘Ciclos’ Malbec/Merlot 2011

Blended Red from Argentina

50% Malbec and 50% Merlot from the Cafayate Valley, fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in American and French oak. Very dark, deep, saturated black-red colour with youthful purple hues. The bouquet is fresh and stylishly elegant with sweetly aromatic, ripe black berry and plum fruits along with layers of spices, florals and some jammy confectionary nuances adding interest. Medium-full bodied, plush and juicy black berry and boysenberry fruits show with ripeness and opulence, unfolding complexing Asian spice elements and oak shine. The fruit richness is balanced by fine-grained tannins and good acid profile resulting in harmony and a completeness to the mouthfeel. The extraction builds and carries the palate to a well-structured, grainy finish with lingering, sweet plummy fruit. This is a plush and stylish Malbec and Merlot blend with a complete and structured mouthfeel. Serve with roasted and grilled red meats and casseroles over the next 6-8+ years. 18.5/20 Feb 2014 RRP $29.99

Michel Torino ‘Altimus MMX’ 2010

Malbec from Argentina

Cafayate Valley fruit, 54% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 10% Tannat, from vines up to 50 y.o, fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in French oak. Full, deep, saturated black-purple red colour. This has a very firm and tightly concentrated nose of ripe dark berry and plum fruit entwined with cassis and blackcurrant leaf, earth and toasty oak layers. Savoury olive, mineral and pencil-shaving complexities unfold in the glass. Medium-full bodied, rich, ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours are spiced with cedary, toasty oak, forming a concentrated and elegantly proportioned palate. The wine follows a very fine line with refined tannin extraction and there is good acid poise. The mouthfeel is dry and flows with finesse and drive to a sustained finish with blackcurrant, and oak flavours. This is a classy Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon based wine with considerable new oak spicing. Serve at fine dinners with roast lamb or with aged cheddar over the next 7-9+ years. 18.5/20 Feb 2014 RRP $39.99
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