Editor’s Note: This Clos de Los Siete review is part of a series of wine reviews aimed at exposing great tasting, affordable wines that are also easy to find. Stop spending so much on wine when you can get something as good or better for less-than-half the price!
Clos de Los Siete Review from from el Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina
This blend, for my tastes, couldn’t get any better. I was lucky enough to discover it during a recent visit to what is now one of my favorite wine bars. After an initial discussion with the general manager, it wasn’t long before we started talking about Malbec. Despite the numerous premium bottles of wine lining the walls from floor to ceiling, he was quick to tell me that the Clos de los Siete was his favorite wine in the entire bar.
The Clos de Los Siete is a red wine blend, loaded with big black and blue fruit flavors, elegantly placed black pepper spice, a velvety tannin structure and a superb balance. This wine is ideal for those of us who are looking for a full-bodied, perfectly balanced, Malbec dominant blend. It’s a food pairing gem, but can be enjoyed equally as well on its own.
Lucky for us, the Clos de los Siete is accessible and very fairly priced. You can find it at several major brick-and-mortar retailers, including Total Wine for around $ 19.99. You can also buy it online at Wine.com and get it delivered to your door for an even better price, which at the time of writing this review was $ 17.99. This really is a great deal, given that a similar quality blend produced anywhere in the Old World would undoubtedly be over $50. The Mendoza region affords wine makers the ability to produce quality wine with less overhead, fewer regulations and better property and storage costs. Thus, yielding a deliciously priced and meticulously crafted red blend.
The Clos de los Siete combines my favorite grape variety, Malbec, with a wine making style and blend of other grapes varieties typically utilized in Bordeaux, France. Spread out across roughly 2,100 aces of vines, Clos de Los Siete wine, which translates in essence to the an enclosed group of the seven, comes to us from an assortment of 7 vineyards across the notoriously Malbec-friendly region of Mendoza, Argentina.
From the back label…
“Clos de los Siete is an oasis comprised of seven vineyards in the foothills of the Andes, south of Mendoza. Managed by Michel Rolland, Clos de los Siete is a venture bringing together a team of men and women who share a passion for wine and for Argentina.”
If you haven’t heard of him, Michel Rolland is a world-renown wine consultant who owns a number of vineyard properties in both New and Old World wine growing regions.
What the back of the bottle doesn’t tell you is that many of the other men and women involved in crafting as delectable a wine as the Clos de los Siete have extensive backgrounds in wine making as well. In short, Michel Rolland is basically Captain Planet and his wine-making cohorts are the planeteers.
Making the production team even more interesting is the fact that they chose to resemble some wine growing and production techniques commonly employed throughout Bordeaux. If you’re not familiar with the Bordeaux region, wines from this area are typically blends that leverage different concentrations of up to 5 different grape varieties.
The climate at the foothills of the Andes (Clos de los Sietes’ vineyards can be found at elevations of 1,000-1,200 meters) is also remarkably conducive to growing many of the grape varieties found in Bordeaux. The main difference, however, is that Malbec is its most expressive when grown in the Mendoza area, which is why it was chosen to be the dominant blend in this particular wine.
What Grapes Go Into the Clos de Los Siete Blend?
In sticking with a grape combination and concentration that has proven to accentuate and balance everything thrown into this bottle, the 2012 vintage of the Clos de los Siete contains 57% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot. This wine is so well crafted that you can literally single out each varietal across the palate if you try really hard. The appearance and big black and blue fruit shows with the Malbec, but is softened by the Merlot. Cabernet tannins and red cherry shine through while the Syrah packs a peppery-blueberry and spicy punch while the Petit Verdot offers additional coloration, tannic astringency and violet floral flavors on the back-end. What sets this blend apart from similar grape usage in France is the Malbec-dominance (think big juicy fruit) and the Terroir of the Andes Foothills.
Crafting the Wine
Michel Rolland thought of everything. From utilizing drip-irrigation in order to prevent the wines from being too greedy to double-guyut pruning methods for optimal canopy development, this wine was destined for glory. In fact, these methods mimic those of the famed Grand Cru production sites within Bordeaux. That means yields that are highly controlled in conjunction with leaf pruning and manual green harvesting. Grapes are then sorted by hand with only the finest being selected for production. They’re then fermented in stainless-steel tanks and aged in both second and third-use French oak barrels, naturally.
Clos de los Siete Tasting Notes
In the glass, this wine offers a rich black hue with a classic magenta rim around the edges of the glass. There is no translucency in this wine. The nose is actually quite suppressed with subtle cassis, lavender and black plum, despite numerous attempts to swirl and bring out more pungent aromatics. Fear not, this is quite typical of many Malbecs.
The opening palate bursts with juicy ripe plum, blueberry and dragon fruit. The mid-palate offers elegant spice, vanilla cola and ground black pepper tones which are ever so slightly undercut by black currant leaf and stony minerals. Towards the close, the spiciness of the Syrah combines with damp forest floor, lusciously velvet tannins and a lengthy, smooth blue and black fruit finish. Yeah, it’s that good.
I don’t give out many 5/5 ratings, but for the price, this wine is unbeatable so far this year — if the above tasting notes happen to be your style.
Food Pairing the Clos de Los Siete Wine
I had already been planning on ordering the Meatball Marinara platter at the wine bar I mentioned earlier, long before I first tried this wine. That day, fate was on my side when this gorgeous blend was propped in front of my face alongside such a perfect pairing. Try dabbling in similar dishes, more on the savory side that aren’t overly acidic. Meatballs done with a good balance of spice (click for recipe), sweetness and tomato will work beautifully alongside this vin to bring out its best tones while maintaining a good balance across the palate.
Other options include, but are not limited to: any sort of beef-related stew, filet mignon (but don’t go too crazy with the salt), barbecue pulled-pork, or my personal favorite — Spanish or Cuban style Lechon Asado (roasted pork). If meat or pork isn’t your thing, teriyaki salmon offers a good balance as it’s a big-bodied fish with the right combination of sweet and savory spice. Given the beautiful balance of this wine, stay on the savory side. If you attempt to include overly acidic or salty dishes you’ll diminish the flavor of the wine — stay in the middle.