Wine Advocate 91
"The unoaked 2018 Malbec Clásico 2018 comes from a very good year, after 2013 and 2014, which were very difficult years, and 2015 and 2016 that saw lots of rain. According to winemaker Leo Erazo, it's the most complex wine to make because of the many different sources of grapes, growers and the volume they make. But they planted 22 hectares in 2012, so they use more of their own grapes; the wine now has some 30% of grapes from Valle de Uco, which is always a cooler region that is noticed in the wine, which is very balanced, harmonious and easy to drink. It has a dusty note and fine tannins; it's elegant and especially very drinkable."
James Suckling 92
" This has aromas of brambly dark berries and violet flowers with cassis in the mix, too. The palate has a juicy and succulent feel with fine tannins that make a long, even and attractive shape. Drink or hold."
"Italian winemakers Alberto Antonini and Antonio Morescalchi own Altos Las Hormigas, a 56ha estate in Luján de Cuyo, which specialises in Malbec - though this bottling also includes fruit from high-altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley, vinified separately before blending. Unoaked and coming from a classic vintage for Mendoza Malbec, it has lovely purity of black and red fruit, with appealing black cherry and violet aromas. The silky black cherry attack is followed by a fresh and juicy palate with fine, soft tannins and a lick of peppery spice that lingers on the finish. Drinking Window 2020 - 2025"
A blend of 100% Malbec grapes harvested by hand from vineyards in Medrano, Lujan de Cuyo, and the Uco Valley in a smaller percentage. The area has a semi-desert climate with hot days and cool nights. We choose deep, fresh soils, to delay ripening, and avoid hydrological stress. These are sandy loams where the clay component provides mineral nutrients and water retention, while the sand component prevents the silt and clay part from compacting excessively, and guarantees water drainage. In this climate we avoid soils with abundant superficial gravel, which increases the warming effect and might shorten the ripening season – which we rely on to give our Malbec its intensity and flavor.
The 2018 harvest can be summed up as a kind of a bipolar one. November, December and January had extremely high temperatures which accelerated the ripening process in the vineyards. These temperatures and quick ripening can dramatically decrease the level of natural acidity in the fruit, as sugar levels rise. In order to avoid this we decided to harvest 15 days earlier than the established date. Taking the window of opportunity from mid February to March 23rd, we picked up all the Malbec, even from the high altitude, cooler climates and vigorous soils.
Grapes from different vineyards are vinified separately before the final blend. After a careful, double sorting process, the grapes are softly pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express each of the selected vineyard. Fermentation takes place in separate stainless steel tanks between 24-28°C for 10 days. Each tank is tasted three times a day to determine what is needed. The wine is then aged for 12 months in concrete vats.
The joyful and fresh expression of Mendoza is in this Malbec. Red fruits, cherries and a soft note of plums that have just been picked up from the tree. This wine is all about freshness. The palate is supple and juicy, inviting to enjoy glass after glass. Soft but structured tannins and a pleasant finish. Three words can describe this Malbec perfectly: freshness, joy and vitality. Can be paired with light fare or heavier dishes, but also can be enjoyed alone. The ideal service temperature is 64°F – 18°C.
Varietal: 100% Malbec
Region: Medrano, Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley
Winemakers: Alberto Antonini, Attilio Pagli, Leonardo Erazo
Closure: DIAM Cork
Acidity: 5.25 g/l
Residual Sugar: <1.8 g/l
Altos Las HormigasView all from Altos Las Hormigas
Wine from Mendoza is more than just Malbec: it is the reflection of a know-how, a tradition and an origin. Founded in 1995 by a consortium of prominent Italian winemakers, including Alberto Antonini of Antinori and Antonio Morescalchi, Altos Las Hormigas has always been evolving. Their Terroir Project is working towards the creation of an appellation system in Mendoza, while showing Malbec's diversity of expression according to its origin. Based on this philosophy, their portfolio shows the tremendous versatility of the Malbec, from fresh, fruit driven Mendoza Clásico from Lujan de Cuyo to the structured and mineral Malbec Reserve from the Uco Valley. Along with Malbec, Altos Las Hormigas has been crafting Bonarda for 10 years, Argentina's second most planted variety. They display its joyful and delicate nature under the classic line Colonia Las Liebres.
In 2012, Altos Las Hormigas took a significant step in their ongoing evolution from boutique value winery to the terroir-driven, serious player in the world of Malbec that they are today. After seeing the potential for wines of consequence in the Uco Valley, the team decided to stop using new oak and small barriques for all of their wines; instead going with older, untoasted, large oak foudres across the board. This decision has allowed for much more expression and elegance, especially on the sublime Appellation series of Malbec, which features the limestone-driven Uco Valley sites of Gualtallary, Altamira, and Vista Flores.
They've teamed up over the past decade with Pedro Parra, PhD in Terroir, to use various techniques to find both the ideal sites for their wines as well as a way to measure the ideal ripeness of their fruit. With Parra's guidance, the team at Altos Las Hormigas has dug over 1,500 soil pits in the Uco Valley, chasing the chalky Mendoza gold that is limestone, which imparts a beautiful minerality to Malbec. In Gualtallary, Altamira, and Vista Flores, they have found the limestone trail, where the vineyards have shallow topsoil and the vines dive deep into the calcareous mother rock. They also use electromagnetism to map out the soil depth of their vineyard sites so that they can avoid picking a whole block where, due to the warm and hilly vineyards of Mendoza, there may be some underripe and overripe grapes in addition to the ideally ripe grapes. Instead, they use that information to harvest in irregular polygons, and pick the fruit with ideal ripeness in every section.