Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised...
appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premier vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 216 hectares, of which 40 were planted between 1996 and 1999.
100% of this Malbec stems from the loamy soils of Gualtallary, lying at 1,300 metres above sea level. There, limestones covered pebbles, and gravels occupy 50-60% of the soil volume, with a high percentage of free calcium carbonate in the profile granting to the wine a chalky, fresh minerality. 3% of clay in the fine matrix allow Malbec to express fresh fruit flavours, for a strong but well-integrated roundness on the palate.
The lack of spring rains and the absence of extensive frosts allowed a very good blooming of the vines, while hail damages – a constant threat for high altitude vineyards – were negligible. The growing season has been uneven, starting with high temperatures and becoming cooler later on. The heat came back before the beginning of the harvest, but then a cold wave hit Mendoza at the middle of March, resulting in a slow maturation. Therefore grapes were showing admirable levels of acidity, lower alcohol content and fine tannins.
The grapes go through a double selection process and are released by gravity into small stainless steel tanks for pre-fermentation maceration at 5°C for seven days. The alcoholic fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts at 24°C for 15 days. In order to maintain careful, gentle handling, pumping is not used; the cap is rotated by manual pigeage throughout the fermentation, and once this is completed, post-fermentation maceration begins for four days. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres for 18 months, and 12 months in the bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure no interference with the quality of the wine.
A luminous, deep ruby Malbec with specks of blue and purple, the nose will pour out of your glass with notes of olives, dark fruit, black pepper, nutmeg and thyme. The palate confirms the nose, but gives way to a layer of bright red fruit. The backbone of this wine is strong, with well-integrated acid and tannin structure. There seems to be no end to this wines finish. It is long with fresh, chalky tannins. it has amazing ageing potential.
|Grape varieties||100% Malbec|
|Region||Valle de Uco, Mendoza|
Liberty Wines customers can order this wine directly from us.