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Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 95 points and Outstanding status in their October 2017 edition review of South American Extreme Viticulture (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review 

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. 

The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted oak foudres for 18 months, and a further 12 months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure that the quality of the wine was not interfered with.

Fresh and delicate on the nose showing layers of red cherries and raspberries combined with herbal notes of wild rocket and thyme and a touch of minerality. On the palate it is elegant and supple with fine tannins providing structure. A graceful, complex, deep and structured wine with considerable length.

£32.45

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

£12.55

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Reserva 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review

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.

Grapes were harvested by hand with delicate and conscious bunch selection. The de-stemmed berries were loaded by gravity to allow a gentle breaking of skins. During fermentation very gentle treatment was used to avoid over extraction. The juice was fermented using native yeast. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres (wooden casks) for 18 months, and six months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure no interference with the quality of the wine.

A brilliant, purple-red in colour with an enticing nose of flowers, ripe red and black fruits mixed with subtle notes of graphite and flint stone. The complexity of the nose develops further with time and air. The palate is creamy with good depth and softness. Fresh, juicy red fruit flavours abound with round, firm tannins and a backbone of well-integrated acidity. A balanced, complex and long-lasting finish.  

£21.20

Amalaya Corte Único 'Finca San Isidro' 2013 (1x 75cl)

The Amalaya wines  offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. 

This is Amalaya's flagship wine. The fruit (90% Malbec, 5% Tannat, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) for this single vineyard speciality comesf rom the San Isidro vineyard located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley. At 1800 metres above sea level, it is distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge temperature difference of around 20°C. The soils are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit. After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes were barrel fermented in new French oak for 60 days. Malolactic fermentation took place and once complete, the wine was then aged in French oak for a period of 12 months.

The wine itself is deep and intense in colour. Black fruit and spices on the nose, with floral undertones. Well-balanced, the palate is complex and full-bodied with fine grained tannins.

 The Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon lend ageing potential to this wine, and it should improve for at least 8-10 years.

£20.00

Amalaya Malbec, Tannat, Petit Verdot 2016 (1 x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec/Tannat/PV 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘.

The estate's vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and huge temperature fluctuations of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit.

2016 was a challenging vintage in Argentina with the lowest production in 20 years, around 40% below the previous year. Quality however was very good due to a dry and healthy vintage which allowed grapes to reach optimum maturity. 

After careful sorting by hand at the winery, the grapes underwent four days of cold maceration followed by a slow alcoholic fermentation. Maceration on the skins lasted around 18-20 days to extract good levels of colour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and once complete, 25% of the wine was aged in French oak for a period of 10 months.

This wine has a deep ruby red colour with purple edges. There are intense fruity aromas of red berries, raspberries and floral notes with a touch of spice and chocolate. It is well structured, fresh and fruity in the mouth with soft and rounded tannins. Velvety with a long finish.

 

£12.15

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below).

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

Andeluna was founded in 2003 by the late Ward Lay whose family had interests in many industries and companies including Frito-Lay and Pepsico. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best sub-regions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. At an altitude of 1,300 metres the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Their winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Enologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers making outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the world spotlight in a very short space of time.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. 

100% Malbec. Grape clusters were hand selected prior to vinifcation and underwent a prefermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by six months in bottle, prior to release.

This is a full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas red fruits and violets combined with delicate hints of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish.

£15.65

Bianchi `Famiglia Bianchi` Organic Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Intense red violet colour. Red fruit notes such as raspberries mix with prunes, spices, tobacco, chocolate and a hint of coffee on the nose. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate with rounded tannins. Notes of coffee and bitter chocolate from the oak ageing add complexity to the mature red fruit character on the long, well-balanced finish.

£15.25

Bianchi Enzo 2013 (1x 75cl)

The rich varietal flavor of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape aged in new oak results in a balanced, velvety wine of good body and prominent character that makes it distinct. Excellent concentration of ripe fruit on the nose and palate, with a lingering concoction of cassis, chocolate, cherry and black pepper.
£29.35

Bianchi 'Famiglia Bianci' Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

The luscious, intense fruit aromas have hints of ripe plums, cherries and blackberries. These aromas continue on the palate with a generous mouthfeel and great weight, while remaining soft and silky.

£14.25

Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Big Brand South American wines (below £13!) (see blue link below).

Norton Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

In 1885, the Buenos Aires to Mendoza railway opened, cementing the significance of this emerging wine-growing region high in the Andean foothills. Ten years later, Edmund Norton planted the first vines in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. At 900-1100 metres, the altitude moderates the temperature, causing an extended ripening season, and also expose the vines to more ultraviolet light, which encourages the development of colour and tannin in the black-skinned varieties. The result is whites packed with vibrant flavour and good natural acidity, and well-structured, food-friendly reds.

Half the blend comes from vineyards situated at 1100 metres above sea level in the Luján de Cuyo region of western Mendoza, and half comes from the Uco Valley to the south. The age of the vines is between thirty and fifty years. The grapes are hand-picked into small baskets, with hand selection of the berries. Following a five-day cold maceration, the wine underwent a fermentation with native yeasts for seven days at a temperature of 25°C. Maceration lasted for 25-30 days at 20°C, and the malolactic fermentation was 100% natural. The wine was aged for twelve months in first- and second-use French oak barrels, and then for ten months in bottle prior to release.

Round and velvety, with flavours of ripe black fruit, violets, spices and tobacco. Long and complex on the finish.

£13.90

Bodegas Caro, Caro 2009 Bottle (1x 75cl)

Intense, deep red colour with fine hints of crimson.The nose offers pleasant aromas of red and dark fruit, with redcurrants, also some mint and cedar. The bouquet fills out with notes of vanilla, spices and mocha, characteristic of French oak.This is a dense, complex wine, with a good tannin structure. The lingering finesse of the tannins gives the wine good length and a pleasant, soft mouthfeel. Deep, aromatic and complex with very appealing intense fruit. 

£28.80

Colome Autentico Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Extreme Viticulture in South America (see blue link below).

Colome Autentico Malbec 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión, who was married to José Benjamín Dávalos, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The altitude of the Upper Chalchaquí Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes. The higher the altitude, the more exposed the grapes are to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which causes them to develop thicker and darker skins to protect themselves from sunburn. The fruit for this wine comes predominantly from San José, one of the oldest vineyards in Colomé, originally planted around 90 years ago. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aids drainage.

The grapes (100% Malbec) were triple sorted, once in the vineyard, once for imperfections on the sorting table at the winery and then once more for green material in the must before entering the fermentation tanks. The wine was produced using traditional techniques and no commercial yeasts were added. The cap was punched down regularly and the wine was aged in tank without any oak ageing. It spent 10 months ageing in tank, then a further 10 months in bottle prior to release.

An intense inky colour with violet tones. Aromas of black fruit, cherries, white mulberry, figs and an elegant spiciness with a mineral touch. A robust and concentrated palate with crisp acidity. The tannins are ripe and fine-grained, giving structure and balance.

£27.05

Colome Estate Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

Deep bright red with a magenta hue. Aromas of black and red fruits including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cherries, mix with touches of violet floral notes and hints of spices and minerals. Fresh and fruity on the palate with muscular structure and round, velvety tannins. A fine, delicate yet lengthy finish.

£17.80

Costa & Pampa Pinot Noir, Trapiche 2016 (1x75cl)

Aromas of red fruits such as raspberries and cherries, with soft spicy notes. On the palate, this wine is gentle and round, with a long length. It is very well balanced showing harmony between acidity, sweetness and fruit.

£13.55

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2016 (1x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below). Alas, the 2015 was sold out in the UK long before publication of Decanter, and we can suggest the new 2016 vintage as a close alternative.

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

Doña Paula is a leading, modern winery at the forefront of exploring and investing in new, high quality wine regions in Argentina. First established in 1997, they own all of their vineyards covering 700 hectares. These vineyard sites are located in the best subregions within Mendoza including Ugarteche, Altamira, Gualtallary and Tupungato. They practice sustainable methods in the vineyards, maximising the true expression of terroir.

Grapes are sourced from Dona Paula's estate owned vineyards, Finca el Alto in Ugarteche, Lujan de Cuyo. A cold pre-fermentation maceration is carried out to preserve primary aromas. The must is then cooled and traditional fermentation is carried out. Post-fermentation maceration lasts between 10 and 15 days. Malolactic fermentation is carried out after maceration and before bottling.

An intensely coloured wine, with purple tints. The sweet, spicy and intense aromas of red fruits and herbs are enhanced by the soft, velvety palate which is fresh and well balanced.

£11.65
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