2016 Gen del Alma ‘Jijiji’ Malbec-Pinot Noir Gualtallary
Region: Tupungato < Mendoza < Argentia
Grapes: 50-50 Pinot Noir + Malbec
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, fruit grown on a single vineyard in Gualtallary (within the Tupungato sub-zone); clay-limestone soils; whole cluster, carbonic maceration; minimal SO2 at bottling; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Andrea Mufatto
Gen del Alma is a newish project from Gerardo Michelini, of Mendoza winery Zorzal, and his wife and winemaker, Andrea Mufatto. The couple planted vines on their own property adjacent to the Zorzal winery, with the goal of showcasing the purity, minerality, and freshness of the area’s volcanic terroir. While this wine is 50/50 Malbec and Pinot, it most certainly is not big and brawny like we’ve come to expect Argentine Malbec to be. In fact, I hardly get any Malbec vibes – it’s way more along the lines of a good cru Beaujolais or even Anjou gamay, practically oozing crunchy, tangy red berry fruit goodness. This is by design – to ensure freshness in the warm climate, Gerardo and Andrea pick early, when the Pinot is ready, so the Malbec is a little under-ripe. A sparkly, neon red, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the wine draws you in with gorgeous aromas of violets, raspberries and orange peel, following up with fresh, sharp acidity and crisp minerality that frame the cherries, mushroom and flint on the palate. Their first vintage of this wine was produced in 2014 and sold out in Buenos Aires in 20 days. Since then it’s gained a bit of a cult following in Argentina and with natty wine geeks around the world. And no wonder – it’s energetic, irreverent and delicious juice that is completely crushable at 12% ABV, and under $20! Stock up while it lasts.