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Wine Advocate Score: 92 Open Wine Advocate Score: rating modal
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Our Wine of the Month #2 for May 2023 - Santa Julia's 'La Vaquita' from the high-altitude vineyards of Argentina - is a lively "natural" wine, made with a pared-down approach: nothing added, nothing removed! It's made with a couple of traditional techniques from the Old World. It's a "clarete," a traditional Spanish style of wine made by fermenting red and white grapes together; in this case, whole clusters of Malbec are added with some whole berries of Torrontes (part of the aromatic Malvasia family). This style of fermenting leads to juicy, soft textures and a distinctive accent of vibrant candied fruit. By not adding extra sulfites, natural fermentations can take place, creating another savory dimension and extra aromatic lift to the wine in the glass.

'La Vaquita' lies somewhere between a rose and a youthful, 'natural' Beaujolais. It's refreshing, with an ebullient mix of tangy cranberry, black cherry and soft strawberry, fragrant orange zest, orange blossom, and violet, along with a subtle spicy-herbaceous pop from the whole clusters. The finish is tangy-fruitedand mouthwatering, leaving you with lingering citrus and red fruits. There's a tension between juicy and vinous, crunchy and velvety, fruity and savory that keeps you going back for another taste! "La Vaquita" can be enjoyed on its own, but really shines with appetizers or lighter dishes such as fresher sheep or goat cheeses, grilled veggies, and roasted/grilled chicken. Serve cool, or even with a little chill, preferably poured into a carafe or decanter; it opens up the wine and shows off that beautiful ruby hue!

Santa Julia puts 'natural' on the label, so you might wonder what that means! For them it means: it's organically farmed; fermented with native yeasts, with no addition of sulfites (which is normally used to help protect wines from spoilage); made using only stainless-steel containers for purity of fruit; and it's unfiltered and unclarified (vegan friendly).

WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "A new "clarete" light red from the "natural" range, the 2022 La Vaquita Natural is the first vintage for this unusual blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Torrontés that fermented together; the Malbec was with full clusters, and they do a semi-carbonic maceration. It has a pale color, with notes from the two varieties, with violets and orange blossom, and it is fine-boned, light and fresh but with clout, with 13.8% alcohol and fine tannins. This is a very gastronomical light red with tasty, clean flavors and aromas and a velvety mouthfeel. Very easy to drink. This is the first vintage from organic grapes and fermented with indigenous yeasts. 20,000 bottles were filled in August 2022 after three months in stainless steel."
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