Amalaya Malbec 2013
The Salta region in northern Argentina is home to world’s highest vineyards. Near the town of Payogasta, the Colomé Altura Máxima vineyard is planted at 10,206 feet in elevation.
Salta is part of the Calchaquí Valley, which benefits from more than 300 days of sun per year, subjecting its vines to considerable ultraviolet radiation. The valley experiences strong high altitude winds, even in the “lower” vineyards, which are planted at 5,413 feet. Because of these elevations and resulting extreme conditions, vines produce lower yields and thicker-skinned grapes, resulting in concentrated, aromatic and well-structured wines.
In a truly unique region, the highly aromatic variety, Torrontes, thrives; intense sun exposure allows full ripening, while cooling winds maintain the grapes’ acidity levels and phenolic balance.
Upscale hotels, beautiful colonial architecture, a majestic Andean backdrop and impressive food and wine make the area attractive among tourists as well.
Salta is the fourth most important Argentine wine-producing region after Mendoza, San Juan, and La Rioja. Its oldest vineyards were planted in 1862.
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.