Wine Review: 2013 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon

Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the wines discussed here were provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.


2013 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon

This deep ruby-colored wine exhibits a thin, clear edge when poured. Its bombastic aromatics shout from across the room in shades of red fruit like fresh strawberries and raspberries. These notes await along the upper rim of the glass, woven through with intimations of caramel and orange blossoms, while a sniff at the lower rim reveals subtle woody elements as well as red currants and a bite of candy apple.

When the wine touches the palate, flavors of raspberry and strawberry stand tall, joined by blackberries and quiet wisps of tobacco. Here there be grippy tannins and luscious acidity providing a pleasing structure that makes this sustainably dry-farmed red suitable for enjoying right now, although it has more than enough life left in it to endure a year or two of cellaring. It finishes with a lush elegance that, together with the wine’s expressive fruity attributes, speaks with eloquence to the characteristics of the wines coming out of Chile’s famed Colchagua Valley. Drink this one with roasted red meats, baked pasta dishes in red sauce, or charcuterie.

SRP: $25.00
Alc: 14.3%

2014 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon

Ruby-hued with robust, jam-reminiscent aromas of fresh plums, cherries, and red currants, this wine evokes playful imagery of evenings spent fireside. Though the word “uncomplicated” springs to mind in the sense that it seems approachable even to those unfamiliar with the enjoyment of wine, this dry red does not lack for complexity. In addition to the fruit, impressions of wet earth, vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon awaken with a swirl of the glass.

This wine makes a good selection to begin an evening on the town or a game night with friends, and seems like it would be the first to call “Shotgun!” and hop into the front seat as you all pile into your car for a road trip. A structured wine with delicate tannins, its finish bestows a silken, spicy parting glance to be savored long after swallowing. This one will keep if held in-cellar for a few years, but is perfect to enjoy now with wood-fired pizza, pasta dishes with bacon and mushrooms, bruschetta, or aged cheeses.

SRP: $22.00
Alc: 14.5%


Founded in 2001, KAIKEN Winery is located in Argentina’s most traditional winegrowing area of Mendoza—Vistalba—one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious regions due to its singular terroir. In addition to its enviable diversity of soils, some of the oldest vines are found here, including 80-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon and 105‐year‐old Malbec vines. Led by second-generation winemaker Aurelio Montes del Campo, the young passionate team at KAIKEN is committed to cultivating grapes that express the unique terroir and climate in which they are grown. The winery hopes to be fully biodynamic by 2020. Learn more about KAIKEN winery and its resolution to sustainable viticulture at

Viña Montes was born in 1988 of a shared dream to elevate the quality and reputation of Chilean wines around the world. Montes’ flagship Alpha line, comprised of single varietal wines, were the first premium value wines from Chile. Montes Winery maintains a strong focus on sustainable culture, believing that environmentalism and social responsibility go hand in hand. Its commitment lies not only to the land that fosters the growth of its grapes, but also to the local community that helps care for the earth and vines. Find more information about Montes Winery and its sustainability efforts at

[Top image: Anthony Beal/]

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