Altocedro Ano Cero Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Altocedro means “tall cedar,” and represents both winemaker and owner Karim Mussi Saffie's Lebanese-Argentine heritage, and a cedar tree which towers over the winery.
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Produced with grapes from a higher altitude and a cooler climate in the district of La Consulta, the 2017 Año Cero Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in concrete and was partially aged in French barriques (one-third of the wine only) for ten months. The Año Cero range is harvested early, something that's easier to do with Tempranillo, but it's not so easy with the Cabernet Sauvignon. There's little old Cabernet in this cooler zone of Mendoza, something that is changing because of climate change. So, there is no varietal Cabernet Sauvignon in the upper ranges, and this is the only one bottling they do. It's a bright ruby color and has a clean, spicy and peppery nose, with good ripeness and impressive balance on the palate. This Año Cero range really impressed me. 27,000 bottles produced.
All harvesting, sorting, and crushing are done in individual batches by hand using no machinery in the process. The vines range up to 70 years of age, with only 1,600 plants per acre, and strict harvesting of only 1.2 kg of grapes per vine. The extract is done with a gravity flow system developed at the winery over 100 years ago.
By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.
For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.