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Montes Crosses the Mountains to Argentina

Respected Chilean winemaker launches new Kaiken label, for Argentinean Malbec and Cabernet.

James Molesworth
Posted: November 26, 2003

In a move that seemed inevitable for one of Chile's most energetic and respected winemakers, Aurelio Montes has now set up an operation on the other side of the Andes, in Argentina. Montes, co-owner and winemaker of Viña Montes, is set to release his first Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, under his new Kaiken label, in January.

Kaiken is just the latest expansion project for Montes, who has extensive plantings in Chile's Marchigüe region coming into production soon. He is also building a new winery in Apalta, where he makes his outstanding Folly Syrah and Alpha M Cabernet blend.

Both of the Kaiken wines, which are set to retail in the United States for about $10 a bottle, are from Argentina's outstanding 2002 vintage. Tasted with Montes in Wine Spectator's New York office in October, the Malbec showed ripe berry fruit with elegant floral hints, while the Cabernet showed a chewier, more raisiny profile. Wine Spectator will formally review the wines in a blind tasting when they are officially released. There were 4,000 cases produced of each wine.

Kaiken is a Mapuche Indian word for a Patagonian goose that lives on both side of the Andes. The wines are produced from purchased grapes sourced from several different vineyards in the Tupungato area of Mendoza, and are being made at a leased winery facility. After determining which areas produce the best fruit, Montes eventually plans to acquire his own vineyard land in Argentina and build his own winery there.

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Check our ratings of Viña Montes wines.

Read more about Montes:

  • Feb. 20, 2002
    Viña Montes' New Syrah Rates Among Chile's Top Wines

  • Sept. 2, 1999
    Chile's Aurelio Montes Creates St.-Emilion Grand Cru

  • May 13, 1999
    New Wines Show Off Quality of Emerging Chilean Region

    Read about other Chilean wineries branching out to Argentina:

  • Sept. 22, 2001
    Chile's Santa Rita Heads Over the Mountains
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