2014 Benmarco "Expresivo" Red Blend Valle de Uco
This is great wine with fabulous transparency and clarity showing blackberry, blueberry and floral character. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a superb finish. 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc. A wine that gives pleasure now but will be even better in 2020.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The one blended wine in the BenMarco line that I tasted was the 2014 BenMarco Expresivo, in this case it's 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary, from a young vineyard that gives low yields. The fermentation was completely natural, without any added yeasts, and the élevage was extended to 14 months, also in used French oak barrels. There is more influence from the élevage here, with some smoky, toasty and spicy notes over the core of violets, cherries and just a tiny herbal twist. The palate shows some abundant fine-grained tannins that point at the need to give it some more time in bottle and enjoy it with some hearty food. (LG)
Bright medium ruby. Blackberry, bitter chocolate and violet aromas showcase the wine's sizable Cabernet Franc component. Sweet, spicy and fine-grained, with cassis and blackberry fruit flavors complicated by spices, smoky oak and dusty herbs. A very complex blend, showing much more new oak than the two varietal bottlings. The wine's lovely fruit- and spice-driven sweetness gives it early appeal in spite of its firm tannic structure. This wine was fermented in a combination of cement eggs, open-top wood fermenters, 5,000-liter cubes and 500-liter barrels. Finishes with firm, very fine-grained tannins, a suggestion of licorice and excellent length. These BenMarco 2014s show the greater tension of calcaire wines, plus a slightly herbal quality from the 2014 vintage. Incidentally, Susana Balbo has a long-term lease for this fruit; she pays by surface rather than tonnage, which is still rare in Argentina, and leaves a lower crop level. (ST)
Dominio del Plata, the winery which produces Crios and Susana Balbo's eponymous bottlings, also produces Benmarco, wines which are the vision of head winemaker and viticulturist Edy del Popolo. We've met Edy, and can tell you that, besides being an engaging, thoughtful, passionate and very likeable wine guy, he knows his stuff, and the proof is in this bottle! Featuring Malbec and Cabernet Franc grown in the chalky soils of the Uco Valley's Gualtallary district, this wine has loads of sumptuous dark fruit, and sees its fair share of new oak. The quality of the fruit and terroir shines through, though, and as a result this rich, generous, full-bodied red does not seem outsized or overmatched by oak. It's as much a tribute to Edy as it is to the quality of terroir in the Uco Valley.