Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premium 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.
The grapes come from vineyards in Medrano, Barrancas and Lulunta in Mendoza, situated at 900-1,000 metres above sea level. The sites are chosen for their deep, fresh sandy loam soils that delay ripening and avoid hydric stress. The climate here is semi-desert with hot days and cool nights which help the aromatic development of the grapes.
The 2016 season started with a cold and rainy spring, which was very unusual by Mendoza standards. The cold spring made a difficult flowering period and berry set. The grapes were also affected by rain, ripening at a much slower pace than previous vintages. The lower average temperature resulted in a month delay for harvesting. It was a harvest with low yields, with losses of around 40%, but gaining in great quality and concentration on the wines.
Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before the final blend was assembled. After a careful double sorting process, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express each of the selected vineyards. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks between 24-28°C for 10 days. Each tank is tasted three times a day to determine what is needed. The wine is then aged for 12 months in concrete vats.
This Malbec is deep violet-red in colour. The nose displays characteristic notes of red fruits, raspberries and freshly picked plums with white pepper. This wine is all about freshness - the palate is supple and juicy, with soft but structured tannins and a long finish.