More than Malbec: Bodega O. Fournier (Mendoza, Argentina)

by Liz Caskey on August 6, 2006

For those who have been following the Argentine wine industry over the past years, you may be aware that there is much more out there than Malbec, and well, more Malbec. Sparkling wine powerhouses like Chandon have maintained investments in Mendoza for more than 4 decades. Local grapes like Torrontes and Bonarda, although very rustic, also are part of the local grape inventory. The age of blends, assemblages, meritages has also fallen upon Mendoza, but this time we are starting to see more out-of-the-box–starting with Spanish grapes like Tempranillo.

Leading the pack is Bodega O. Fournier, located in the Uco Valley, about one hour south of the city of Mendoza. O.Fournier is the Argentine investment of a Spanish winery headed by the Madrid native José Manuel Ortega. Its solid winemaking, state-of-the-art technology, and privileged soils (here they use bush vines) and location in the Uco Valley are the formula for its base success. But what about its wines?

We have visited the winery on a few occasions and drank their wines in both tastings and for personal pleasure (in fact, last night we polished off another bottle of the BCrux 2003 which went quite well with hummus). I would qualify the editorial line of their wines as: serious, pure, modern (in its style), and even a little daring–they go out on a limb (sometimes with blend, sometimes with the balance) and obviously  not everyone will take to this wine style. However, the wines always have a unique personality and are all very well made.

I just got a heads up on some recent ratings from Wine Spectator and Decanter on O. Fournier wines that I would like to share. These are now being distributed slowly in the US. They are worth looking for and trying–the BCrux is a great value wine and the ACrux 2003, well, that it may just make you swoon.

WINE SPECTATOR (James Moleworth), August 11, 2006

ACrux (Uco Valley) 2002 93 points US$42

Very flashy, modern-styled wine, with layers of mocha and spice-infused toast leading the way for boysenberry, blackberry and fig fruit. Shows additional tar, mineral, graphite and even violet notes through the rich but racy finish. Tempranillo, Malbec and Merlot. Drink now through 2010. 600 cases imported.

ACrux (Uco Valley) 2003 92 points US$45

A flamboyant style, with lots of bacony, spicy toast woven into the blueberry and boysenberry. Yet stays focused, with the fruit shining through on the lengthy finish. Great mouthfeel. Drink now through 2008. 1,000 cases made.

BCrux (Uco Valley) 2003 91 points US$24

Very dark, but pure, with cassis and blackberry fruit layered with vanilla, mocha, mineral and tar notes. Long, dark, plush finish stays nicely focused thanks to fine-grained tannins. Tempranillo, Malbec, Merlot and Syrah. Drink now through 2008. 1,000 cases imported.  

DECANTER (Steven Spurrier), September 2006

ACrux (Mendoza, Argentina) 2002

“A top performer, Bodegas O. Fournier´s 60% Tempranillo/35% Malbec/5% Merlot blend has all the New World benchmarks of dark colour, intense berry fruit, marvellously ripe tannins and a lift of acidity. But it adds an Old World elegance and length to a wine both succulent and serious.”

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