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What our expert thought of Atamisque Serbal, Cabernet Franc

the tasting

The Tasting

Tupungato’s climate encourages intensely coloured wine, so while this is a fairly deep ruby it’s rather lighter than I expected and much more translucent than a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec would be from this area.
On the fragrant nose there are very pure black fruits ‐ ripe black plums and blackcurrant jam ‐ with strong herbal notes of thyme and roasted red peppers keeping things from getting too jammy.  Despite an intriguing whiff of pencil shavings, this is completely unoaked.
Black fruit flavours of blueberries and blackcurrants dominate on the palate, along with a hint of dark chocolate.  Despite its obvious ripeness this isn’t heavy, being not much more than medium-bodied, with fresh acidity and velvety tannins to balance the weight of fruit.  There’s a distinctive note of red peppers, too.
Spicy notes ‐ especially liquorice ‐ join the black fruits on the finish, which features a fine balance between tannin and acidity.


This is very primary: it’s all about the flavours of the grape, unsullied by oak.  This is what Cabernet Franc really tastes of… at least if you can get it as ripe as this!  That ripeness has emphasised black fruit flavours over the red plum and raspberry that appear in cooler climates.  The grape’s trademark capsicum scent and flavour has also changed colour, from green peppers to red ones.
Despite that ripeness, the winemaker has managed to avoid making a heavyweight, over-alcoholic fruitbomb.  14% alcohol is actually quite restrained for a Tupungato red, and it doesn’t taste that strong – I’d have guessed it at 13% or 13.5%.  The tannins too are well-controlled: the winemaker has been careful not to over-extract, something that is also apparent in the translucent colour.
The extra bottle-age this wine has enjoyed since we last tasted it has intensified the nose and added depth and some chocolatey complexity to the palate.  It’s really hitting its stride now, though it will continue to drink well for a few years yet.

Tasting notes

clear deep-ish ruby

Intensity medium

Aromas ripe black fruits (black plum, blackcurrant jam), herbs (thyme), roasted red pepper, hint of pencil shavings

Development youthful

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium+

Tannins medium+ but velvety and ripe

Intensity medium+

Flavours blueberry, blackcurrant, red pepper

Length medium

Flavours as palate, liquorice
Other notes
Unoaked. Very primary, pure fruit flavours. Will improve.

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