Altos las Hormigas Appellation Paraje Altamira Malbec 2017
Subtle and graceful wine that is nonetheless also very complex. Its expanding aromas unfold in different layers, with red fruit notes invading the nose on the first approach. Upon that, underbrush notes such as wild arugula and thyme stand out, then showing mineral aromas typical of limestone soils. These soils provide the wine with fine and structured tannins... the tannins that are the very backbone of this Altamira Malbec.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The captivating 2017 Malbec Appellation Altamira has been produced with grapes from the same vineyard since 2015, next to the neighboring vineyard where they have now planted their own grapes. It's tremendously expressive and aromatic, and it seems to transcend the vintage. They couldn’t make the wine in 2016 because of the adverse conditions, but they came back really strong with this 2017, which has a chalky texture and a dry, austere and long finish. Really very good.
Altos’ vineyard is a spectacular site on the third terrace of Paraje Altamira and has produced a wine with wonderful freshness and minerality that’s almost verging on austerity right now but will blossom in bottle. Textured, floral and very chalky on the palate.
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.
With a winning combination of cool weather, high elevation and well-draining alluvial soils, it is no surprise that Mendoza’s Uco Valley is one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in Argentina. Healthy, easy-to-manage vines produce low yields of high-quality fruit, which in turn create flavorful, full-bodied wines with generous acidity.
Celebrated for its bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec has enjoyed runaway success in Argentina since the late 20th century. The grape originated in Bordeaux, France, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends. A French agronomist, who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. Somm Secret—If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet with its combination of dense fruit and soft tannins.