MENDOZA (3) … LURTON
No need to introduce the Lurton family, one of the most famous wine families in the Bordeaux area. You can read this fabulous history on the Lurton Family website. You will find there a very impressive list of prestigious domains owned by the family, divided under the four children of François Lurton († 1971): André, Lucien, Simone and Dominique. Since 2009, the Lurton cousins joined forces and form a great family imperium of 1300 hectares and 27 domains! The younger generation François & Jacques Lurton, both sons of André, acquired different wine domains in Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Spain and Languedoc. After many years of great work together, François and Jacques focussed on their own interests. Jacques runs the Domaine de la Martinette and The Islanders Estate in Australia, while François Lurton took over his brother’s stake of the other domains, including the Viña Hacienda Araucano in Chile and Bodega Lurton in Mendoza. The success story of François Lurton is mainly based on years of juvenile enthusiasm, open mind and dynamism, but also on a fundamental research of the best vineyards, locations and teams to produce high quality wines in each country. The Lurton brothers arrived in Argentina in 1992. After a short period of producing wines for the national market, they were quickly convinced of the quality of some Argentinean terroirs. François is moving very fast, more and more conscious of the company’s responsibility to the natural and social environment. Nowadays, Lurton uses only natural fertilizers, no herbicides and is hard on the way learning to work organic and probably soon biodynamic (thanks to Luca Hodgkinson, winemaker and technical director of both the Chilean and Argentinean wineries).
Luca Hodgkinson, technical director and passionate oenologist
The quality of natural and social life has dramatically increased at both sides of the boarder, but what about the wines? Lucas Hodgkinson would help us to (re)discover the Lurton wines quality.
Luca Hodgkinson in front of the bodega
After a quick tour of the small but very nice, clean and efficient winery in Mendoza, we tasted all the Argentinean (and Chilean) wines of the company. The following lunch in the open air, in the middle of the vineyards, was absolutely fantastic! We enjoyed one of the most impressive and tasty ‘asado’ I ever had… Not only because of the great food, but also thanks to the friendly and open company, the great climate and the picturesque scenery.
(Restricted to only Argentinean wines, the Chilean wines will be described later)
Lurton Pinot Gris 2009 Uco Valley: golden with greenish accents; more ‘pinot grigio’ nose than ‘pinot gris’, first fresh and floral, then ripe fruity (peach) and herbal; fresh in attack, mouth-filling and velvety on the palate, very well balanced with a clean, sensual finish. Good wine, incredible pleasure/value for money (retail Europe, < 10 €).
Gran Lurton Corte Friulano 2009 Uco Valley: intense golden with greenish accents; very aromatic and complex nose (70% Friulano – formerly known as Tocai-Friulano -, 20% pinot gris, 8% chardonnay, 2% torrontès), fresh, floral, fruity with a hint of vanilla (8 months aging in French oak barrels). Complex as well on the palate, with a good balance between freshness, juice, ripe fruit, residual sugar (4.51 g/l) and creamy, fatty structure from the fermentation and aging in oak barrels. Long and sensual finale. Very nice wine! Great pleasure/value for money (retail Europe, < 15 €).
Lurton Malbec Reserva 2008 Mendoza (Chacayes / Las Barrancas): ruby/cherry red; elegant, modern, fresh and fruity nose, with subtle hints of oak aging (1 wine French barrels) like tobacco, coffee and vanillin. On the palate, this malbec is smooth, round, velvety and juicy, no heavily built blockbuster but a good table companion. Quite long and very pleasant finish, with plenty of sweetish fruit (but the wine is dry, only 2.68 g/l residual sugar) and meaty toasty oak reminiscence. A perfect wine for the better ‘asados’ where the meat quality is not hidden by strong charcoaled taste but sublimated by slow cooking… Good wine with a great pleasure/value for money (< 12.50 € retail in Europe)
Lurton Piedra Negra 2006 Mendoza (100% malbec, Chacayes / La Consulta): juvenile cherry red with purple accents; very nice ripe fruit in the nose, with some spicy undertones and hints of tobacco and vanillin (18 months ageing in 1 wine French oak barrels). On the palate, surprisingly fresh and juicy, with plenty of ripe fruit and strong but smooth tannins. Long and complex aftertaste. Very well made, good ageing potential, still quite young. Average price (< 25 € retail in Europe).
Lurton Chacayes 2006 Mendoza (Chacayes, Uco Valley): this ‘icon’ wine is made from a majority of malbec grapes, double sorted by hand on a sorting table. Very dark and deep colour. In the nose, quite a serious flirt with the oak (16-18 months new French oak) and lots of spices and red fruit. On the palate, the oak is still dominating. Powerful tannins, great concentration, spicy and fruity taste, good balance. Quite toasty smoky oaky and a bit dryish finish. This wine scores very high (90-95 pp.) and is absolutely recommended for everyone who really likes very concentrated wines with strong tannins and new oak. However, I found it missing the finesse and the fascinating character of a great wine. But that is really personal. Very well made, good ageing potential, still quite young. For an ‘icon’ wine is the price very correct (> 50 € retail in Europe).