James Suckling 90
" Nice sour cherries with a streak of white pepper and violets. Medium-bodied, but fleshy. Ripe, almost creamy tannins extend to the finish, but are still juicy and vibrant. Not complex, but so balanced and easy to drink. Drink now."
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.
Our vines showed great balance this season; all previous work in the vineyards paid off. The weather during the season registered the highest maximum temperatures as well as the lowest minimum, compared to former seasons. This wide range of temperatures translated into very fruity flavors in the wines. During spring there was little rainfall and no late frosts. In January there were two important heat waves, which are typical in Mendoza. These heatwaves contributed to concentration in the grapes that, with our early harvest philosophy aimed to obtain natural acidity, produced wines of excellent quality and elegance.
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 24-28C 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.
This wine displays a bright ruby red color, with lively violet hues. On the nose it is intense, showing notes of red fruits, strawberry, and fresh plums. As the wine opens, it also shows mineral notes of graphite. On the palate, it is fresh, very drinkable, with balanced acidity and supple tannins. The finish is long, fruity, and vertical. This Malbec is ideal to pair with various dishes, from red meats to pasta or grilled vegetables.
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.