O. Fournier's story
Spanish winery owner Jose Manuel Ortega has positioned himself in three of the best wine-producing regions in the world: Mendoza, Argentina; Rioja, Spain; and Maula Valley, Chile. The Argentine wines of O. Fournier come from grapes planted in the Valley de Uco, one of the high altitude regions that produce fruit touted to be some of the best in Argentina.
Tempranillo: the focus of O. Fournier
Being from Spain, the winery has focused on making great Argentine Tempranillo, the emblematic Spanish varietal. Although many Argentine wineries are producing their own style of Tempranillo, no other wineries that we've visited besides O. Fournier have made the grape their central project, believing that Mendoza is a great region to grow Tempranillo grapes and creates an interesting "rustic" taste.
The winery produces two lines from their Mendoza winery: Urban Uco and Crux. Their young wines carry the Urban label, and spend 3 months in barrels that have been used 3 or more times. Currently on the market are their 2005 Tempranillo and 2005 Malbec. O. Fournier exports 90% of its Urban line.
Crux's production process
It's both exciting and dangerous to find a great splurge-worthy wine, but O. Fournier's Crux line produces them. Here's how the production of the Crux line differs from its Urban sister:
- Old vines: grapes used in the Crux line are 30+ years old
- Vine yield: each vine only produces 1.5 kilos, which means it can focus on quality over quantity
- Cold maceration: the temperature of the grapes during maceration is lowered to 42 degrees to bring out the sweetness of the grapes and to round out the tannins.
- Double selection: all grapes go through a second process of selection so only the best grapes make Crux wines
- Oak aged: the wines spend a longer amount of time in newer barrels
For price to quality, the Beta Crux is an exceptional wine with its dark fruit flavors, vanilla flavors and aroma and softness in the mouth. We tried the 2003 which tastes incredible now but could be aged for a few years. The Beta Crux is a blend of 50/40/10 Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot. The addition of the Merlot helps round out the flavor and provides a softness.
The Alfa Crux blend (50/40/10 Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot) was certainly incredible. The 2004 will be even more delicious in a few years when it softens up to round out the complexity. At twice the price as the Beta Crux, this is a great special occasion wine.
Finally, since no winery in Mendoza can go very long without trying its hand at making an extraordinary Malbec, O. Fournier will be releasing a 2005 Alfa Crux Malbec (100% Malbec). Produced as a limited edition with 12,000 bottles, the Alfa Crux Malbec has been produce in accordance with being one of the top wines produced by the winery, spending 18 months in new barrels with fruit from the oldest vines.
Sharing the fascination for astronomy with winery CarinaE, the name Alfa Crux and Beta Crux are based on the 1st and 2nd brightest stars in the Southern Cross.
Beta Crux blend. For its price and quality, you can't go wrong!