2014 MALBEC, ‘Paraje Altamira’, Altos Las Hormigas. Mendoza, Argentina
Alcohol Percentage: 14.5%
Area: Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo are the two key quality regions within Mendoza and Uco is generally cooler, making a fresher style. Within Uco there are several sub-regions, of which Paraje Altamira is perhaps the most highly prized and I (JH) certainly find it the most consistent in producing modern, elegant wines with real freshness and purity.
The vineyards for this wine are at 1,200m, the soils stoney (with a lot of limestone) and low-yielding
Grape Variety: 100% Malbec matured in large oak barrels for 18 months and (emphatically) no new oak is used
Producer: Altos Las Hormigas is owned by renowned consultant winemaker Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi. They also employ the brilliant Chilean consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) to help with viticultural (vineyard-related) matters
Old Bridge Rating: Alberto's philosophy is all about purity. He is trying to make a different style of Malbec - not reliant on lush fruit and sweet oak. Sometimes this means the wines can be a touch lean - and certainly not friendly to traditional Malbec drinkers. But this is a triumphant success with concentration and depth allied to real elegance and finesse.
Press Reviews: "Deep purple crimson. Savoury, rocky dark, dark fruit with a slight dustiness that I associate with concrete fermentors but may just be the vineyard site. It is really very restrained on the nose, whispering rather than shouting its refinement and intensity. On the palate, that dusty/rocky mineral character is expressed as super-elegant black fruit, dry and very fine, almost chalky tannins. It's got remarkable freshness for a wine with 14.5% alcohol. There's dark chocolate - the bitter 70% type that leaves your mouth feeling clean and dry. Very classy wine, without make-up. And still a way to go to reveal greater depths and complexity with a few more years in bottle. Very very long." - 18/20 from Julia Harding MW on jancisrobinson.com
£39.50 per bottle
£37.53 per bottle in a mixed case of 6 bottles
£35.55 per bottle in a mixed case of 12 bottles