tentadora malbec

Salta, Argentina, Valle de Cafayate I.G.
Bill Knuttle

Winemaker William Knuttel first visited Cafayate several years ago, and was immediately entranced with the area and its people, culture, and climate. The town is nestled in the Calchaqui Valley at over 5000’ elevation in the foothills of the Andes. This area of high mountain desert has the feel of Napa Valley plunked down into Zion Canyon National Park. Vineyards seemingly grow in nothing but rock and sand, surrounded by towering mountains of red rock and granite.

While Argentina is recognized mostly for the wines of Mendoza to the south, the smaller Cafayate region is rapidly gaining favor—after over 100 years of grape growing! Knuttel believes the region will eventually compare to Mendoza much like Napa Valley does to Sonoma County, and a frenzy of land purchases and winery construction in the last few years seems to be bearing out this prediction.

The secret is that most of the great Torrontes in Argentina is sourced from Cafayate, but recently the region’s robust Malbecs have attracted the most attention.  After his previous experiences at Chalk Hill Estate, which included extensive experiments focusing on Malbec clones, pruning techniques, and winemaking styles, Knuttel could not resist temptation in Cafayate.   Hence, Tentadora, “the temptress,” materialized from some of the finest Malbec vineyards he had ever seen, adjacent to those of the region’s most famous Malbecs, San Pedro de Yacochuya, one of Michel Roland’s projects


The Tentadora Malbec Reserva features a blueberry and blackberry mélange with notes of spice and earth, and a smooth succulent core of fruit that broadens into a velvety finish. The color is inky black, and soft and well-resolved tannins are seamlessly integrated into the finish.  Tentadora Malbec is eminently suited to the table, and pairs especially well with roasted meats–and all the better if the meats are grilled at an asado, or Argentine-style barbecue.

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2017 Review: 91 Points, Wine & Spirits Magazine: “This Malbec drew an immediate consensus from our panel: This is steak wine…meaty char with brightness and its blueberry fruit gets along quite well with the granitic mineral notes and the burly tannins”

2017 Review: 90 Points, The Wine Enthusiast: “Herbal, saucy berry and cassis aromas come with a gamy note that adds complexity to the nose. A chippy palate is jammy but anchored by rough tannins. Roasted, herbal black-fruit flavors are common to Cafayate in Argentina’s north, while this Malbec finishes with chocolaty oak and regionally familiar flavors of mint, wild herbs and roasted black fruits.”