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Altocedro La Consulta Select Malbec 2009

Malbec from Argentina
  • WS90
14.2% ABV
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

We strive for a La Consulta-terroir driven Malbec that is fruitforward yet with some added complexity from the oak.

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Flashy toast gives this a mocha and anise jump start, backed by a core of crushed plum, blackberry and fig paste. A cocoa edge hangs on through the finish, with latent drive stretching it all out. Drink now through 2012. 900 cases imported.
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Altocedro

Altocedro

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Altocedro, Argentina
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The winery of Altocedro is located in the growing region of La Consulta, Valle de Uco, Mendoza. This is one of the premier Argentine growing zones. Limited production with sustainable growing practices make the Altocedro wines a cult-type wine in Argentina. Winemaker Karim Mussi Saffie focuses on producing terroir-driven wines.

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.

Argentina

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With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.

Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.

Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.

The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it continued to flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. A French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. But it did not gain its current reputation as the country's national grape until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice, appropriately backed by aromas of freshly turned earth and dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, Malbec will be intensely ripe, and full of fruit and spice. From its homeland in Cahors, its rusticity shines; dusty notes and a beguiling bouquet of violets balance rich, black fruit.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.

EPC18529_2009 Item# 111018