Country: Argentina Region: Mendoza Vintage: 2016
Category: Red Wine Color: Red
Producer: Altos Las Hormigas
"Altos Las Hormigas is another of Tim Atkin’s ‘First Growths’ in his 2017 Argentina Report. Friends and business partners Alberto Antonini and Antonio Morescalchi have come a long way since they were impressed by Mendoza’s vineyards on their first visit in 1995. They have gone from being youthful interlopers to one of the country’s leading producers, as well as being pioneers of a more elegant style of Malbec.
Aside from their vineyard in Luján de Cujo, they are working very closely with Pedro Parra (widely regarded as the South American expert on soil and vineyard mapping) in order to identify the best locations to grow their grapes. Digging and probing each corner of Mendoza, they brought to light the singular aspects of outstanding sites, and aim to reveal their distinct characters through their wines. From the Uco Valley they obtain a striking floral fragrance on the nose and a dark purple colour, whereas the calcareous sites of Vista Flores, Altamira and Gualtallary each bring distinctive aromas and mouth filling textures.
A biodynamic approach in the vineyard, as well as minimal intervention in the winery – including using neutral oak, natural yeasts and minimal extraction – are practices dictated by Altos’ philosophy to ensure the wine stays true to its place of origin.
Their combined wealth of experience as a winemaking team, as well as their never-ending experimentation and desire to produce the best wines that Argentina can offer, has made Altos Las Hormigas a Malbec specialist, with a reputation as one of the country’s top few producers of this variety.The Malbec Clasico is a fresh, fruity yet elegant Malbec, made from grapes grown at their Luján de Cuyo estate. Their other wines are made exclusively from suit sourced from selected sites in the Uco Valley. The ‘Terroir’ perfectly combines the Uco Valley florality with a stunning purity of fruit, while the ‘Reserve’ offers more depth and complexity, as it is sourced from distinguished calcareous terraces and has spent 12 months in French oak. New to the portfolio are two single vineyard Malbecs: ‘Altamira’ and ‘Gualtallary’. The Altamira vineyard lies at 1,500 metres above sea level and the Gualtallary vineyard at 1,300 metres above sea level. The Appellation ‘Altamira’ Malbec is a more elegant and aromatic style whereas the Appellation ‘Gualtallary’ Malbec is rounder and more powerful with great concentration.
The Malbec Clasico is a fresh, fruity yet elegant Malbec, made from grapes grown at their Luján de Cuyo estate. Their other wines are made exclusively from suit sourced from selected sites in the Uco Valley. The 'Terroir' perfectly combines the Uco Valley florality with a stunning purity of fruit, while the 'Reserve' offers more depth and complexity, as it is sourced from distinguished calcareous terraces and has spent 12 months in French oak. New to the portfolio is the 'Altamira' Malbec. Fruit for this single vineyard Malbec is sourced from the alluvial terrace of Altamira at 1200 metres above sea level. This is a graceful, complex wine with fine tannins and considerable length. "
Winemaker: Alberto Antonini/Attilio Pagli/Leonardo Erazo
The Malbec is hand-picked from 100% calcareous soil of the Uco Valley, limestone over alluvial deposits of the Tunuyan River in Altamira, the alluvial terrace of Arroyo Grande in Vista Flores, and the alluvial with calcareous highlands of Gualtallary. The terraces contain medium pebbles with occasional boulders covering calcium carbonate paste of around 7-10% active lime which contributes to structure, texture and a long, impressive finish.
Grapes were harvested by hand with delicate and conscious bunch selection. The destemmed berries were loaded by gravity to allow a gentle breaking of skins. During fermentation, pigeage and a very gentle treatment were used on the cap to avoid over extraction. The juice fermented using native yeast. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres for 18 months, and six months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure no interference with the quality of the wine.
An opaque purple wine with highlights of bright ruby. The nose is filled with plum, raspberries, chocolate and a touch of leather. This wine offers a strong, well-structured palate. Intense red and blue fruit encompass the senses, drawing to a long, mineral and elegant finish.
Food Suggestion: Serve with a hearty beef stew or confit of duck.
Closure: Natural Cork ABV:14% Acidity [g/l]: 5.15