Neyen Malbec 2016

Neyen Malbec 2016, 13%, Apalta, Chile

(c £50)

I wasn’t supposed to taste this wine.

The producer was supposed to send another wine. But somehow it was this very particular Malbec – just one of 762 bottles made – that ended up being despatched.

Serendipity, I guess you’d call it.

I’ve tasted a fair few Neyen wines over the years but this stopped me in my tracks.

Neyen is a special project, all organic, whose home is in the Apalta hills in northern Colchagua. They have some pretty old vines here – the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1889, the first Carmenere in 1936. Sometimes the wines can be a bit…much. (It’s a warm area, too, so not always easy for ‘bordelais’ varieties.)

But this wine is special. The 2016 was a rain affected harvest so many wines are dilute. There are some that carry off a more elegant style, though, and this is one of them.

It’s hardly cheap but it is very special. Wonderful aromas of tobacco, warm earth and dried plums. The palate is beautifully juicy, spicy and elegant. Focused, long, layered finish – delicious, all told. Serendipitous.

(7.5/10, Peter, Feb 2020)