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WINE REVIEW: Tapiz 2014 ‘Black Tears’ Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($65)

by Andrew Chalk


This wine was made by Fabian Valenzuela under the consulting guidance of Jean Claude Berrouet, who formerly presided over 44 vintages of Petrus in Bordeaux. The grapes come from a single vineyard 4,200 feet above sea level inside the 475 acre GI (Geographical Indication) of San Pablo. The GI, in turn, is inside the Uco Valley subregion. So stating ‘Mendoza’ (a huge region) on the label is the height of modesty.

“There is something very unique about the San Pablo GI, and Black Tears is a clear expression of that character. The limestone-rich soil, high altitude and close proximity to one of the highest mountain ranges in the world create a microclimate in which there is a very slow ripening of the fruit. Black Tears has an extremely long finish, preceded by a fresh palate and sweet tannins, which make for an unusual and exceptional wine,” says Patricia Ortiz, vintner, president and proprietor of Tapiz.


Notes from the winery on the San Pablo GI say:


San Pablo is a high elevation and arid Geographical Indication within the sub-region of Tunuyán in Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. San Pablo lies on the right bank of the alluvial fan of the Las Tunas River. Consequently, the soil is composed of high pebble content as well as other calcareous materials. With vineyards planted between 3,600 ft (1,100m) and 5,600 ft (1,700m) above sea level, the GI only sees an average of 500mm rainfall per year. San Pablo was approved as a GI in 2019 with 475 planted hectares.


Appearance: Inky blackberry skin color. purple rim;

Nose: Intense blackberry and black cherry fruit. Forest floor;

Taste: Cedar, blackberry, complex and closed at the moment. Slight herbaceousness. Robust tannins make it likely that this wine will age for a long time (maybe 20 years).

An impressive wine that has so much potential that it is best kept for a decade to fully appreciate its qualities. I have praised before the Tapiz wines that have had the hands of Jean Claude Berrouet on them. He seems to make every wines he touches more complex and softer than he found them.


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