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Amalaya Malbec 2016

Malbec from Salta, Argentina
  • WW90
  • D90
13.9% ABV
Other Vintages
  • D90
  • JS90
  • D94
  • RP91
  • WS90
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3.7 68 Ratings
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3.7 68 Ratings
13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In Salta's high desert, Amalaya vineyards begin a mile above sea level, far above the Calchaqui Valley floor. For centuries, farmers made offerings in hope for a miracle - as Amalaya translates in the local language - for a bountiful harvest. Extreme conditions stress the sustainably farmed vines, delivering fruit of intense flavor concentration and uncommon depth. Rich red fruits and a hint of spice, balanced with approachable tannins, make Amalaya enjoyable on its own or with a variety of bold dishes.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 90
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The 2016 Amalaya Malbec delivers beautifully-ripened blue and black fruit aromas and flavors. A hint of dried earth and chalky minerality keep in it the realm of fine food pairing wine. Try it with grilled short ribs and see why Malbec and beef work so well together. (Tasted: August 4, 2017, San Francisco, CA)
D 90
Decanter
This wonderful label has a knack of translating the breathless altitude, rugged landscape and fierce sun of the Calchaquí Valley into intense yet balanced wines. Tons of roasted dark fruit, with hints of coee and chocolate. Intense, grounded and long.
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Amalaya

Amalaya

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Amalaya, South America
Amalaya is an exquisite representation of the unique weather and soil conditions in Argentina's Northern Calchaqui Valley that also honors the heritage of the indigenous Calchaqui people. The name Amalaya is rooted in the beliefs of the Calchaqui to keep the gods of nature happy and to strive for an equilibrium of forces to assure sustainability over time. The most worshiped goddess is “Pachamama,” or "Mother Earth," who presides over planting and harvesting. The Calchaqui created many rituals and ceremonies to please Pachamama, and would ask the goddess for a miracle. This "hope for a miracle" is called "Amalaya" in the popular indigenous language and is symbolized by the holistic spiral. To respect Pachamama, the winemakers of Amalaya treat all their vineyards sustainably.
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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.

Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah, and, particularly, Tannat have the most potential among reds.

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.

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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.

RRM4468742_2016 Item# 181055