In the glass, this opulent Patagonia Cabernet Sauvignon is nearly black at the center, with a glass-staining dark purple color right to the edge. Ripe black cherries and crème de cassis dominate the nose, which evolves over time to include black freestone plums, dried cranberries, and dark cocoa. On the palate, the first impression is of opulent sweet black fruit, with luscious, mineral-saturated flavors of crushed black fruit preserves, along with poblano peppers, melted dark chocolate, and black licorice. But there is also refreshing acidity and grip, in the form of round, smooth, fine-grained tannins. And demonstrating a characteristic I find in every truthful wine, it evolves over time for hours, and the empty glass smells great, even the next day. Drink now–2028.
About this wine producer: Hervé Fabre (like Laura Rizzoto of Balestri Valda in the Languedoc and Marjorie & Stéphane Gallet of Domaine le Roc des Anges in the Roussillon) brought fresh eyes and a respect for the value of old vines and high-quality farming to a new home, when in the late 1980s, he moved from Bordeaux to Mendoza, Argentina. At the time, nearly all the investors in Mendoza’s wine renaissance were purchasing undeveloped land and the planting new, easily farmed and irrigated vineyards, from which oceans of ordinary wine could be made. Fabre, on the other hand, set his sights on existing old vineyards, some planted in 1908 (!) in the foothills of the Andes, near the source of the Rio Mendoza. And it was a consequential decision: their deep roots and low yields give wines that regularly garner him the highest accolades, including two IWSC trophies for “Argentine Wine Producer of the Year”.