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Altos las Hormigas Gualtallary Malbec 2016

  • RP96
750ML / 14% ABV
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3.9 9 Ratings
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3.9 9 Ratings
750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A solid violet red color reveals a dense, concentrated, compact wine. Notes of spices and minerality make a complex nose. On the palate, a supple entry, dark berries and spices. A very structured and quite wild Malbec, with firm fine-grain tannins, showing its calcareous foundations and columns. The mouth feel is full of thrilling freshness and balance, with a long and persistent finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
My favorite of the collection, the 2016 Malbec Appellation Gualtallary is a wild and structured expression of the grape, place and vintage. Produced with grapes grown at 1,300 meters in altitude, it fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and aged in untoasted 3,500-liter French oak foudres for some 22 months. It comes from two selected plots in Gualtallary and has a very perfumed nose that is intoxicating, with notes of decayed violets, wild herbs and an earthy touch. The palate is pure chalk, with mineral notes, ultra refined tannins and a dry, tasty finish. This has a similar character to the Reserve, with higher minerality and the added freshness of 2016. This has to be one of the best wines ever produced at Altos Las Hormigas. It has the balance to develop nicely in bottle.
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Altos las Hormigas

Altos las Hormigas

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Altos las Hormigas, South America
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Wine from Mendoza is more than just Malbec: it is the reflection of a know-how, a tradition and an origin. Founded in 1995 by a consortium of prominent Italian winemakers, including Alberto Antonini of Antinori and Antonio Morescalchi, Altos Las Hormigas has always been evolving. Their Terroir Project is working towards the creation of an appellation system in Mendoza, while showing Malbec’s diversity of expression according to its origin. Based on this philosophy, their portfolio shows the tremendous versatility of the Malbec, from fresh, fruit driven Mendoza Clásico from Lujan de Cuyo to the structured and mineral Malbec Reserve from the Uco Valley. Along with Malbec, Altos Las Hormigas has been crafting Bonarda for 10 years, Argentina’s second most planted variety. They display its joyful and delicate nature under the classic line Colonia Las Liebres.

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.

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Uco Valley

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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.

This is the source of some of the best Malbec in Mendoza, which can range from value-priced to ultra-premium. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay also perform well here.

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Malbec

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Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originated 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.

SKRARALH2216_2016 Item# 509185