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1999-2004 Yacochuya Rolland Malbec (Salta, Argenti


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Very interesting evening featuring the complete vertical of the high-altitude Malbec made by Michel Rolland in Salta, at the San Pedro de Yacochuya winery where he has an equity interest. Grapes are planted at 2000+ meters above sea level. This winery is best know for the Yacochuya Rolland wine, although they do produce a second label Malbec and also a Torrontes.

Wines were decanted for 5 hours, and served in two flights of three. By the time we got to the second flight, the 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages had spend another 70 minutes in the decanter. Wines were served extra chilled at 14C and then allowed to warm up in the glasses.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 1999

100% Malbec - Alcohol 14.50%

Very dark, almost inky with strong violet shades. 200% Malbec color. Bottle had no sediment. At first, nose was subdued but later came out with notes of spices and licorice. Attack of very ripe plums, still very tannic and coming across as very young (very un 99 like). This wine seemed a lot younger than it’s vintage. Mellowed out a little in the last part of the evening and showed more balance. Very nice, 91 points with room for improvement.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 2000

100% Malbec - Alcohol 16.00%

Deep & inky…. But not with the characteristic purple notes. Bottle with heavy sediment. Nose of earth and rocks… almost dusty. As the wine warmed up a bit the nose evolved very gracefully showing black fruits, licorice and some balsamic. Mouthful was big, powerful but very balanced, lots of perfectly ripe plums (not OTT), earthy notes again, cedar, cassis. Very satisfying mid palate and nice medium+ finish. 93-95 points & WOTN.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 2001

100% Malbec - Alcohol 16.00%

Deep purple, again textbook Malbec to the eye. Somewhat one-dimensional nose…. Just earth and more earth. Overly tannic, maybe even overly sweet?. Lots of heat. Unbalanced. Underperformer of the night… 84 points.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 2002

100% Malbec - Alcohol 16.10%

Strong Violet color, seemed more viscous that the other wines. Earthy nose that then opened up to notes of licorice and raw meat. Still very tannic, oak integration is still in process, finish seems short but I get the feeling this will come around with a good few years in the cellar. Its hard to tell this wine has more than 16% alcohol… no heat here. 89-90 points with strong upside potential.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 2003

100% Malbec - Alcohol 16.20%

Super concentrated color, with dark ruby notes and less of the textbook violet. Nose is unbalanced, alcoholic. This wine is clearly no where near ready to drink… bitter finish that I associate with big structured Malbecs that are screaming for more time in the cellar. Not Rated.

Yacochuya M. Rolland - vintage 2004

100% Malbec - Alcohol 16.00%

Deep & inky violet… nose overly alcoholic. Similar to the 2003, this is still way too young. Now showing itself unbalanced and with an uncharacteristic short & somewhat bitter finish. As the evening progresses, the wine starts to show its potential… there is clearly a balance there waiting to come out. All that is needed is there; this is just an untamed beast. Similar to the 2002, I think this vintage is a keeper. Not Rated but I think this has strong prospects.


Alejandro Audisio (ITB)

Visit Argentina and try wines from the RIGHT side of the Andes !!!


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Very interesting notes, gaucho, thanks.

Are the points you mention your own scores? The "with room for improvement" sounds as though they might be Parker scores?

Was there any discussion about the reason for the high alcohol levels? Not whether they were balanced or not, but the possible viticultural effects of the extremely high altitude . . . I am guessing that it would be difficult to get the pH levels up to 3.5-3.7 without a long hang time, which would likely result in picking at a higher Brix level. A long, cool growing season might also contribute to exceptionally intense pigments and tannins.

Is there a link to more information about the vineyard?

Fascinating stuff.


Mary Baker

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