Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within 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 88 hectares with 56 in production.
Fruit is sourced from the oldest part of the Uco Valley – vineyards in the sub-region of La Consulta and two areas in Tupungato. The soils are gravelly and alluvial. Vines are planted at high density to balance growth in low vigour, nutrient-poor soils and the grapes are hand harvested.
2016 began with an unusually cool and rainy spring with temperatures well below average Mendoza standards. This caused some difficulties during flowering and fruit set and led to lower than normal yields. Nevertheless, this reduction in quantity meant that the grapes which did successfully ripen were very high in quality and incredibly concentrated in flavour.
Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before being blended together. The grapes went through a vigorous selection process on a double selection table before being gently pressed. Indigenous yeasts began the fermentation which lasted 12 days and took place in stainless steel tanks at 24-28ºC. The wine was aged for 18 months before being bottled, 25% in large oak foudres and 75% in concrete. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle before release.
This wine has an intense ruby red colour. On the nose, it has a beautiful bouquet of sweet cherries, cranberries, fresh figs and hints of violet. Crisp and round on the palate, there is a perfect harmony of bright red fruit and floral nuances and a great balance of acidity and tannin. The finish is fresh and long.