Almaúnica Quatro Castas Vertical - 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Tasted February 20, 2016 by br_winelover with 221 views

Introduction

Since both fscov and I have been in the last few years at Almaúnica Winery in southern Brazil and tasted its flagship wine at release (fscov the 2010, me the 2012), we decided it would be a good idea to revisit the wines we had drank and compare them to the other vintages we have cellared. Almaúnica's flagship wine is called Quatro Castas, and in portuguese its name means that it is a blend of four different grape varieties (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec and Syrah). Since the percentage varies each year, a vertical would be the best way to check with blend actually tastes better.

So I brought a 2011, and fscov provided a 2010 and a 2012 (I brought him this last one directly from the winery, so it had perfect provenance, for example). All wines were cellared in temperature-controlled cellars since purchase. That was important, since we had two 2010s a couple of months ago, and both had been extremely disappointing. Since fscov believed they had been subjected to heat due to incorrect cellaring, this vertical was a chance to confirm if this vintage had already gone downhill or the problem was confined to those specific bottles.

Drank during the night together with a great barbecue/Spiessbraten we had prepared for our wives.

Flight 1 (5 notes)

Red
2010 Viña Bisquertt Syrah Casa La Joya Reserve Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
88 points
This wine was already opened before we started our vertical, and we decided to drink it as an appetizer. And, although I'm not a big Syrah fan, this was a very nice surprise - it had a very interesting nose, with notes of spices and dark fruit. In the mouth, it was still going strong, although the bottle already had a ton of sediment. The tannins are fully resolved by this point. It's only real drawback is the short finish. Excellent QPR. 88-89pts.
Red
2010 Almaúnica Quatro Castas Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Serra Gaúcha, Vale dos Vinhedos
86 points
This was the first (but not the last) disappointment of the night. This bottle was only slightly better than the ones we had in the past that fscov thought had been affected by heat. The blend was dominated by Syrah, and it showed in the nose and mouth. However, it was too hot and unbalanced. Its alcohol dominated everything else. Oak seems to have killed this bottle. For a "Super Premium", one would suppose it would last more than six years (three since release). 86-87pts.
Red
2011 Almaúnica Quatro Castas Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Serra Gaúcha, Vale dos Vinhedos
86 points
Second disappointment of the night. This wine too has been subjected to too much oak, and it has already gone downhill. It is not as agressive as the 2010, since Syrah is not the dominating grape in the blend - so it was not as hot. However, it didn't offer a complex nose to speak of, and it was a bit thin in the mouth. Nobody liked it. 86-87pts too.
Red
2012 Almaúnica Quatro Castas Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Serra Gaúcha, Vale dos Vinhedos
87 points
Reading my note from when I bought this wine, I had predicted it would not make old bones. And man was I correct - I didn't think, hovewer, that it would last so little! This was the third disappointment of the night, although it showed better than the preceding Almaúnicas. This Malbec-prevailing blend had a bit more complexity and a more enticing nose, with cherries dominating. However, the fruit is already muted, certainly killed by the excessive oak this wine was subjected to. 87-88 pts tops.
Red
2008 Alma Negra Gran Misterio Argentina, Mendoza
92 points
After so many disappointments, fscov decided to open a bottle he had tasted some time ago and really enjoyed to conclude our tasting on a positive note. And finally we had a wine we could truly enjoy - this Alma Negra has reached its drinking window, being now perfectly mature. Blackberry and violets dominate the nose, which leads to a very pleasant mouth of dark berries and cherry. Its not the most complex or long wine, but it is really well balanced. Excellent QPR. 91-92pts, and WOTN by a lot.
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Closing

It was a rather disappointing vertical. All wines seemed already tired, the 2012 a little bit less. Definitely these wines are not meant to be cellared, since fscov said his 2010 was much better at release, and I'm sure the 2012 I had last year was way fresher and better in every way compared to the bottle I drank now. The wines are showing every single of the 20+ months they spent in oak. If you have them, drink them ASAP.

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