When Kaiken comes to town, they don’t mess around. Like Madonna, the Argentine wine is currently touring Canada. Last night, the vintner laid out a long table of nibbles at Vine Arts in Calgary, to assist with the consumption of mucho vino tinto.But first, Aurelio Montes Jr had some ‘splaining to do. Because, as you may have noticed, his wine’s name doesn’t match his family moniker. Kaiken was inspired by the Caiquenes that soar over Patagonia between Argentina and Chile. Following the flight path of those wild geese, Aurelio’s padre, the Chilean-born Montes Sr, migrated to the Mendoza region himself to make vintages that combine Argentine passion with the Swiss-like work ethic of Chileans. Not that I’m encouraging sweeping stereotypes here.
Turns out there’s more to Argie wines than Malbec. So much so, that Aurelio’s winemaking talk was entitled More Than Malbec. Here are my notes as we followed along, tasting from left to right.
Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft, easy sipping. “It’s a cooking wine,” said Aurelio. But for him, that’s not a derogatory description. Because it’s for cooking. Like, feeling good about what you’re doing at the stove, hot stuff.
Ultra Malbec. Another easy drinker, although a bit bigger. However, not as many tannins as you might expect from a Malbec.
Terroir Series Malbec. The middle Malbec, not available in Calgary, unforch, is the party Malbec, according to Aurelio. “This one is for your friends who like to drink a lot, but know their wines.”
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Aurelio advised us to “smell the uncooked meat” with this one. Which, for an Argie who allocates two pounds of meat for every dinner guest over age 15 (who will each arrive armed with their own personal knife), is high praise. I don’t know if I smelled the early stages of asado, but it tasted lovely.
Reserve Malbec. Aurelio suggested pairing with salmon, or pork. “Not a big boy wine,” he said. But I think I’d be happy enlisting it to slosh down my Alberta beef-influenced carnivorous tendencies.
Aurelio’s talk of terroir turned into an impromptu geology lesson when he explained the boulders in his vineyards were left their by ancient rivers, not glaciers. Hint: you can tell because they’re round.
There was a lone wolf white, that started sweet but ended serious, apparently the ultimate escort to conger eel. However, after five reds, my tastebuds were committed to el rojo.Señor Montes handed out my favorite type of loot bags. And, just like any other rock star on tour, his Sharpie was ready to roll. Great grapes, Aurelio — muchas gracias!