Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.
The grapes used to make Mai are sourced from 100 year old vines at the estate vineyard in Vistalba (Lujan de Cuyo), where the soil consists of an 80cm top layer of alluvial sandy-loam containing riverbed pebbles. The old vines are very low yielding, producing small quantities of highly concentrated fruit. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically.
This vintage saw a very cold spring, with average temperatures well below previous years. The cold temperatures delayed bud break and flowering by 20-25 days. 2016 will be remembered as a challenging vintage due to cold weather, 700 millimetres of rain during the growing season, and a 20-day delay in reaching maturation. The vines, therefore, required a lot of attention from the viticultural team. Despite low yields (down by 40%), the grapes harvested were healthy and of very good quality.
Grapes were hand-picked into 15kg trays to preserve the quality of the berries throughout the process. The must was fermented in small tanks over a period of 7 days at controlled temperatures of 25-30ºC. This was followed by post-fermentation maceration, which lasted approximately 20 days depending on the specific batch. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels, of which 70% was new, for 18 months prior to bottling.
This wine is deep red in colour, with violet tones. On the nose, it displays fruity aromas of plum and cherry combined with spicy notes of tobacco and cinnamon. An elegant and complex wine, with soft tannins and a long lingering finish.