Kaiken Wines was founded in Argentina in 2002 by a Chilean winemaker, Aurelio Montes. The two countries produce very different styles of wine but there's no reason not to celebrate both.
The name of the winery comes from the upland goose or caiquén that migrates back and forth over the Andes between the two countries. Both of these bottles celebrate Argentina's most famous grape and do so in an impressive manner.
I would strongly recommend both of these wines with a wide assortment of grilled meats. You can't recreate a full churrascaria in your home but now that the weather is getting nice, don't be afraid to toss a little lamb or goat on the grill along with the beef, chicken, and sausages. Although summer is the traditional time for outdoor cooking, I get so much more pleasure from it when it's cool or cold. Nothing better than sitting on the back porch with the smoker for a few hours without sweating or having to deal with bugs. And if you happen to get cold, just move a little closer to the fire box.
2011 Kaiken Terroir Series Malbec
80% Malbec, 12% Bonarda, 8% Petit Verdot
$12, 14.5% abv.
Chocolate, leather, a touch of tobacco on the edge. Firm tannins, big dark berry flavors. I love a blend like this, and it's a good bargain. Definitely chewy, but perfect for those sizzling slices of beef or lamb.
2011 Kaiken Ultra Malbec
96% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
$22, 14.8% abv.
Black cherry, leather, coffee, medium tannins, long finish. The more serious of the two, I'd save this for the more tender rare cuts of beef. It is still strong enough that flavorful seasonings and smoke will not cancel out the great elements of the wine.
Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.