In 2001, Chilean winemaker and founding partner Aurelio Montes Sr. of Vina Montes visited Argentina and immediately fell in love with its people, viticulture, enology, and terroir. He saw tremendous potential in Mendoza, and knew he could learn from and contribute his knowledge to an area that was open to innovation. A year later, ‘Kaiken’, was born. The name Kaiken (or Caiquén) is a Mapuche Indian word for Patagonian geese that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina, much like Aurelio Sr. and Jr. do to manage properties in both regions.
In 2007, Aurelio Montes Jr. joined his father’s joint venture, Montes, as director of winemaking working at the company’s Apalta winery, located in the Colchagua Valley, where Montes’ icon wines and Montes Alpha are produced. From 2011 to 2015, Aurelio Jr. was in charge of the Montes’ Kaiken project to enhance its reputation and quality, and by exploring new terroirs and winemaking techniques.
Biodynamics and sustainability are the building blocks of Kaiken’s practices, and the wines are made with fruit from vineyards located in the Argentine provinces of Mendoza and Salta, with a focus on Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc. Today, Aurelio Jr. tours international markets to promote both family projects.
2014 Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina ($20)
This is a simply beautiful Chardonnay with green apple, zesty acidity and mineral notes. It’s a racy style with plenty of old world charm.
2014 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina ($20)
This Cabernet is a very pretty style, with earthy red and black fruits that dance on the palate. The finish is inviting, with soft tannins. Delicious!
2014 Kaiken Ultra Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($20)
A delightful Malbec that is lean and masculine with flavors of blackberries and blueberries that lead to a vivid, complex, fresh finish.
2014 Kaiken Obertura Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina ($35)
I certainly hope Kaiken continues bottling a 100% Cabernet Franc, because this one knocks it out of the park. It’s a feminine style red wine with complex red fruits and grainy tannins. I’m buying a case!
2013 Kaiken Mai Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($70)
The Kaiken Mai Malbec is round and luscious, and simply a delight to drink. A perfectly balanced beauty with black fruits and integrated tannins.
If you’re planning a visit, call ahead and schedule a vineyard picnic and blending session, where you’ll create your own wine. Both are a lot of fun and you’ll be greeted by their geese and darling little white duck and beautiful vistas.
As for Argentine wine and food, pairings are endless. Try Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon with smoked sirloin; Chardonnay with chicken and grilled vegetables, and Cabernet Franc with pork, sausage, lamb or veal. And don’t forget the empanadas! They pretty much go with anything.
Kaiken is bucket-list worthy, so what are you waiting for?
Roque Sáenz Peña 5516, Mendoza, Argentina
+54 9 261 353-0789