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ACCOLADE RESULTS

92 points

2012 Susana Balbo Brioso

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, August 2015

“The Susana Balbo 2012 Brioso is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% each Malbec and Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot from their estate vineyard in Agrelo planted at high-density (8,000 plants per hectare). It fermented in a mixture of egg-shaped cement tanks, large oak vats and open barriques and then matured in 100% new French oak for some 14 months (less than in the past, down for 18 months). The nose is very classic with plenty of cedar wood, smoke, sweet spices, graphite, blackberries and dark plums that reflect the ripe, warm vintage. The medium to full-bodied palate drinks like a classic, serious Bordeaux blend aimed for the consumer who wants an elegant, balanced, complex and powerful wine with polished tannins and good length. It has French style with an Argentine twist. This is the last vintage sourced for Agrelo, as in the future this wine will be a blend of fruit from Agrelo and Gualtallary in Tupungato in the Uco Valley. You can have up to 20% grapes from other places and still keep the appellation, so it will continue to be Agrelo, but there will be other origins in the blend. This 2012 will benefit from some time in bottle before pulling the cork. 18,000 bottles produced.”

92 points

2012 Susana Balbo Brioso

James Suckling, James Suckling, June 2015

“A pretty red with fine tannins and delicious fruit. Medium to full body, integrated and polished tannins and a long finish. Drink or hold. 50% cabernet sauvignon, 20% malbec, 20% cabernet franc and 10% petit verdot.”

90 points

2012 Susana Balbo Brioso

Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator, September 2015

“A well-sculpted and lusciously fruity red, with a complex mix of raspberry, currant and plum flavors that are matched to fresh acidity. Minerally midpalate, with a long finish that echoes notes of slate, dried herb and pepper. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2022. 834 cases made.”

90 points

2011 Susana Balbo Brioso

Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator, September 2015

“A ripe and rich red, with concentrated flavors of plum, dried blackberry and cherry tart, accented by baker's chocolate and Asian spice details. The creamy finish is plush, with broad-textured savory notes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2018. 150 cases made.”

96 points

2014 BenMarco Expresivo

James Suckling, James Suckling, May 2016

“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.”

91 points

2011 BenMarco Expresivo

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, April 2014

“The 2011 BenMarco Expresivo is a blend from the Uco Valley that changes every year; in 2011 it is around half Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and a little Tannat and Bonarda from Ugarteche aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels. This is really a barrel selection of the best barrels from the Uco Valley. It has added complexity and well-integrated oak, with notes of cigar, chocolate and espresso coffee in the background, with nice notes of violets, black pepper, plums and wild herbs. It is quite aromatic, showy and restrained at the same time. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, elegant tannins, and is quite balanced with good freshness and acidity. This supercedes the other wines from the BenMarco range. A great blend at very good price. Drink 2015-2020.”

90 points

2014 BenMarco Expresivo

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2016

“(aged in 100% new low-toast oak barrels): 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.”

89 points

2013 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, February 2015

“Bright ruby-red. Tighter on the nose than the Malbec, with reticent berry flavors showing a pungent leafy, peppery Cabernet Franc character. Also less pliant and open on the palate, with the slightly green impression contributing to the less-generous mouth feel. This serious, firmly tannic wine calls for at least a couple years of patience.”

94 points

2013 BenMarco Expresivo

James Suckling, James Suckling, June 2015

“A silky and delicious wine with tension and vibrancy. Hints of mineral undertones such as stones and salt too. Full body, tight palate, and a long and energetic finish. This is a serious Mendoza red for today. From grapes grown in Gualtallary. Drink now.”

92 points

2013 BenMarco Malbec

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, August 2015

“There is a change in the BenMarco line since 2013 when viticulturalist Edgardo del Popolo arrived at the winery. The 2013 BenMarco Malbec is now sourced from vineyards in Vista Flores and Chacayes in the Valle de Uco The nose is really floral and fruit-driven (black fruit), a little spicy and displaying elegance and poise. The palate is vibrant and focused with pure fruit and silky, fine tannins to make it really drinkable. A great Malbec from Uco and very nicely priced. 125,000 bottles produced.”

92 points

2013 BenMarco Malbec

James Suckling, James Suckling, June 2015

“A balanced and refined red with blueberry, blackberry and hints of cloves. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Drink or hold.”

92 points

2013 BenMarco Expresivo

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, February 2015

“Deep, bright ruby. Vibrant aromas of blackberry, black cherry, bitter chocolate and violet are complemented by a sexy hint of oak char. Dense, intensely flavored and energetic, showing lovely calcaire lift to the flavors of dark berries, spices and spearmint. Finishes sappy, firmly tannic and long, showing an almost chocolatey ripeness along with bright acidity. The calcaire in the soil enables this fruit to ripen well at reasonably low pH levels. The BenMarco wines are very fairly priced.”

90 points

2013 BenMarco Malbec

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, February 2015

“Bright ruby-red. Complex aromas of black fruits, coffee bean and smoky, nutty oak. Round, broad and ripe, conveying an impression of soft extraction to the flavors of blackberry and violet. Not quite as generous in the middle as the Susana Balbo Malbec (Balbo also makes the BenMarco wines) but these tannins are sweeter and finer. Finishes with excellent length. An excellent value.”

89 points

2013 BenMarco Expresivo

Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator, December 15

“This offers an interesting mix of dried berry and brambl flavors that feature notes of dried ginger and white pepper. Shows savory accents midpalate, with dried beef details on the finish. Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now.”

89 points

2013 BenMarco Malbec

Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator, 2015

“A lithe red, with refined flavors of cherry, plum and boysenberry, matched to notes of sandalwood. Juicy and buoyantly spicy on the finish. Drink now through 2018. 30,000 cases made.”

90 points

2013 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, August 2015

“The 2013 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Los Árboles in the Uco valley, at the limit of Tupungato and Tunuyán. There is riper fruit here, black cherries and blackberries plus good varietal character with herbal aromas and plenty of cracked black pepper. There is nice freshness, a lot less oak and higher acidity than in previous vintages. The tannins are fine and the wine is long and easy to drink. 36,000 bottles produced.”

94 points

2012 BenMarco Expresivo

James Suckling, James Suckling, July 2014

“Wow. I like the aromas to this with black currants, tangerines, and licorice. Full body, firm tannins and layers of pretty fruit plus just a hint of vanilla bean. So energetic and exciting. 45% malbec, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 15% tannat, 15% syrah and 5% bonarda. Better in 2016.”

88 points

2012 BenMarco Expresivo

Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator, January 2015

“Dried cherry and boysenberry flavors give this a fruity character, with muscular tannins and a juicy finish that is fresh and well-spiced. Drink now through 2018. 1,000 cases made.”

89 points

2012 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, March 2014

“(includes 5% each merlot and cabernet franc; aged for 11 months in 80% new French oak): Dark, bright red. Musky aromas of currant, plum, tobacco, roast coffee and smoky oak, plus a hint of herbs. Shows a glyceral texture but also a firm acid spine to its nicely perfumed red and darker berry flavors accented by spices and herbs. Finishes with firm, ripe, dusty tannins and very good grip and length. Plenty of personality here.”

88 points

2012 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, October 2012

“The 2011 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 5% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, comes from 21-year-old vines and is raised in new French oak and used American oak for 11 months. It has an expressive bouquet of blackberry, allspice, fresh strawberry and mocha that unfurls temptingly from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a cocoa-tinged entry layering the powdery tannins. There is good depth here, with a fine, spicy finish laced with red peppercorns and a little sage. Drink now-2017.”