Altos las Hormigas Clasico Malbec 2018
The 2018 vintage – marked by the always present sun of Mendoza – shows in the concentrated and lively color of this wine: a bright violet red. On the nose, the variety fully unfolds, with its characteristic notes of fresh red plums, but also displaying aromas of strawberries and a subtle note of peppermint. The palate presents great intensity, character and a silky texture, highlighted by juicy red fruit flavors with an interesting note of pepper. This is a pleasure wine that lingers in the mouth. A classic Mendoza Malbec from an exceptional quality vintage, ideal to pair with various dishes, from red meats to pasta or grilled vegetables.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A bright and breezy Malbec from a terroir-driven winery, with fruit taken from vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley at an average of 1,000m. It's aged for 12 months in concrete vats to preserve the fruit purity, packed full of juicy, ripe raspberry and savoury plum with gentle hints of liquorice and spice.
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.
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.