Today’s Story: Aristos
Aristos is a very small winemaking project dreamt up in 2003 by Chilean winemaker Francois Massoc, Chilean terroir expert Pedro Parra, and Burgundy legend Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Vosne-Romanée. The idea for Aristos came about in a cellar in Vosne-Romanée, with the trio discussing their mutual admiration for terroir and the immense potential of Chile. While the initial idea was to pursue Pinot Noir winemaking in Chile, at the time this wasn’t possible given their knowledge of terroir so Aristos commenced with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. The first commercial release was 2007, with 10 barrels of Barón (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah) and 2 barrels of Duqueza Chardonnay. Over time Aristos grew to about 30 barrels per year (~750 cases) across three wines, and they planted their first Pinot Noir in 2011.
Today’s Wine: 2013 Barón d’A
74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot; 15% ABV
The 2013 Barón d’A is deep ruby in color. Given about an hour to open up, the aromas are of medium (+) intensity and the rather complex nose showcases notes of blackberry, blueberry, plum, licorice, cigar box, damp earth, cracked black pepper, chopped green herbs, vanilla, and oak-driven baking spice. Flavors on the palate are also of medium (+) intensity, displaying spiced plum, black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, green pepper, oregano, iron, underbrush, and allspice. This dry red is full-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) but silky and refined tannins, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. While this is slightly jammier than I expected, it is rather complex and shows some Old World charm behind all the New World fruit. 283 cases produced.
Price: $54. I think this is a very fair price for the bottle and offers a solid value proposition, if you can find it. While this is a bigger wine than I typically lean toward, the complexity and how well it’s made prove rather enjoyable.