Altos las Hormigas Colonia Las Liebres Malbec 2018
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In 1995 Alberto Antonini, a well-known Tuscan winemaker, and Antonio Morescalchi, a young entrepreneur, took a trip to visit the burgeoning wine areas of South America. It only took one stop to find what they were looking for. They were immediately impressed by the vineyards thriving in the high altitude and dry climate of Mendoza, and were captivated by the whispered traditions and blend of cultures.
They returned to Tuscany powerfully impressed not only by the region, but also by the unexplored potential of Malbec, a grape that had a strong local tradition but was largely ignored and misunderstood. While the rest of the wine world saw Mendoza struggling to shed its bulk wine image, the two young Italians saw Mendoza as a place where traditional viticultural values and unblemished land could be reinvigorated with a modern winemaking approach and international experience. Instead of planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as many others were doing during the 1990s, the team decided to invest their confidence in Malbec. Today, Malbec is the varietal for which Argentina is best known.
Against all odds they cemented their vision to become Terroir Specialists Shortly after, two friends and business partners, also enthused by the idea, joined the venture: Attilio Pagli, a renowned Tuscan winemaker with two 100 point-scoring wines in his personal record and Carlos Vazquez, an Argentine Agronomist, who work for 20 years with the early Catena group, planting new varieties, developing previously unknown vineyard sites and contributing greatly to the qualitative change of Argentine viticulture early on.
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.
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.