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Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 (1x75cl)

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.

Most of the fruit for the Clasico is from vineyards in Luján de Cuyo with sandy loam soils. This is supplemented with some fruit from the high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley, both of which bring different characteristics to the wine. The area has a semi-desert climate with little rainfall and hot days and cool nights. The soils are deep which delays ripening and avoids hydrological stress.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

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 the character of 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 a minimum of nine months in concrete vats.

100% Malbec.

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.

ABV = 13.5%.

£12.65

Amalaya Corte Unico (Finca San Isidro) 2017 (1x75cl)

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‘.

This is Amalaya's flagship wine. 

The estate's vineyards are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaquí 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 a huge temperature difference 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. The average age of the vines is 35 years old. They are trained using both pergola and vertical shoot positioning and planted at a density of 2,700 plants per hectare and 3,800 plants per hectare respectively.

Overall, the Calchaquí Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2017, with a perfect balance between quality and quantity. The weather during the growing season was excellent with almost 100 millimetres of rainfall and good sunshine hours. The lack of spring frost ensuring a good fruit set that resulted in healthy grapes and a strong yield.

The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C, with maceration at 10°C for three days. Alcoholic fermentation took place at temperatures of around 24°C for approximately 21 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing took place in both American and French oak barrels of which 20% was new and 80% second use. The wine was aged for a total of 12 months in barrel before bottling.

85% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Tannat.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy, vanilla notes imparted from the oak. This is a concentrated, fruit-forward wine with rounded, supple tannins and a long finish..

ABV = 14.5%.

£23.60

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013 (1x75cl)

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013 - fiche technique

100% Malbec.

The Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino shows a saturated dark violet color with ruby reflections; the nose offers cassis, blueberries and violets, along with a strong suggestion of soil tones. It combines density and sweetness on the one hand, with gripping, lightly saline flavors of mocha, dark berries, spice, and minerals; a palate-staining finish dominated by sweet black and blue fruits.

ABV = 14.0%.

£60.35

Colome Estate Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Value Malbec (see blue link below). 

Colome Estate Malbec 2016 - Oct 2018 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 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 high altitude of the Upper Calchaquí Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes as the more exposed they are to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the better they are able to generate a thicker and darker skin to protect themselves. This leads to more colour and concentration of flavour building up in the grapes. The climate here is dry, on average around 120 millimetres per year. There is a large difference (20°C) between day and night time temperatures that aids the retention of natural acidity in the grapes. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically. Fruit comes from vineyards at four different altitudes; La Brava Estate at 1,800 metres above sea level that brings ripe fruit, Colomé Estate at 2,300 that brings complexity and weight, El Arenal Estate at 2,600 that brings elegance and Altura Maxima at 3,111 that brings florality and fine grain tannins to the blend.

Calchaquí Valley enjoyed excellent conditions in 2016, except for frost in mid-October which caused a reduction of yields. During maturity, rainfall was low so there was no botrytis development, but many cloudy days gave freshness to the fruit and reduced the risk of sunburn. This resulted in fresh, healthy grapes at harvest time.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were hand sorted twice to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. The grapes were cold macerated and then fermented for 15 days with natural yeast. The must underwent two soft pumpings per day. An extended maceration period of 30 days to extract good levels of colour and tannin. The wine aged for 15 months in French-oak barrels of which 15% was new, 85% second fill. The wine was then aged for a further six months in bottle prior to release.

This Malbec is deep, bright red in colour with a magenta hue. It has aromas of black and red fruits including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cherries and hints of spices and well-integrated oak. Fresh and fruity on the palate with crisp acidity and velvety tannins. This full-bodied wine is delicate yet has a lengthy finish.

ABV = 14.5

£18.15

Familia Schroeder Saurus Select Malbec, Patagonia (Neuquen) 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 96 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Patagonian Malbec Trophy, Argentinian Malbec Trophy) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Saurus Select Malbec 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

Patagonia is the most southerly wine producing region of Latin America, lying to the south of Mendoza and las Pampas. With considerable new investment, Argentinian Patagonia is fast emerging as the country`s most exciting cool climate vineyard, making elegant wines with balance and complexity in contrast to the more masculine reds of Mendoza. The region includes two important wine producing provinces, Neuquen to the west, at over 300m altitude beneath the Andes mountains, and the Rio Negro, which follows the long valley of the same name towards the Atlantic Ocean. These are semi arid, alluvial desert vineyards which benefit from constant sun and breezes that help mitigate disease. The vines are able to produce cool climate varieties including Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with good aroma and concentration as well as perfect levels of acidity.

These lands are magical - they hide astonishing mysteries! When construction began to build the winery a dinosaur was unearthed and in tribute to this 75 million-year-old giant, the name Saurus was given in tribute! Alpataco is a tyre puncturing shrub commonly found in the Monte Desert, which lies southeast of the Atacama Desert in Chile, north of the larger Patagonian Desert, and east of the Andes.

Located at 39’ latitude South, in San Patricio del Chanar near Neuquen, the Schroeder vineyards are planted on gravelly soils and - combined with warm days and cool nights - provide near perfect conditions for grape cultivation. This is a distinguished range of wines with intense aromas and elegant tannins, well structured and with the best characteristics of each vintage.

Grapes were hand-picked and thoroughly selected. 40% fermented and aged six months in oak barrels. The other 60% was fermented and stored in steel tanks, this blend seeking to achieve a fine equilibrium of complexity/richness and fruit density.

This Malbec features an intense dark purplish red that shows maturity. On the nose it is complex - ripe red fruit aromas such as currants, plums and sour cherries melt with some spicy hints. Due to ageing in oak casks some vanilla, bitter chocolate and coffee notes are shown. The mouth-feel is pleasant and well balanced. The long, lingering finish is dominated by sweet, velvety tannins.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.50

Finca Flichman Dedicado, `Gran Corte` Uco Valley 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The winery was founded in 1910 by Polish immigrant Don Sami Flichman.  He purchased property in Barrancas (southern Maipú) and planted vines in rocky, well-drained plots situated along the Mendoza river. It was Sami’s son Isaac who first began to make fine wine at the estate, including Caballero de la Cepa, one of the first high-quality wines that garnered international awareness for premium Argentinian wines. Sogrape Vinhos purchased Finca Flichman in 1998, and invested heavily in restoring the vineyards and equipping the winery with modern equipment. The original Barrancas vineyard remains among their 400 hectares of vines, which also includes the higher altitude Tupungato vineyard. Today the wines are made by Germán Berra, one of Argentina’s brightest talents, who was recognised as the ‘Best Young Winemaker’ in the Argentina Wine Awards in 2016. Germán works closely with consultant and renowned winemaker Alberto Antonini.

The Dedicado is made from the best hand-harvested fruit from the highaltitude Tupungato vineyards in the Valle de Uco. Terroir consultant Pedro Parra of Clos des Fous consults on the vineyards. Situated at the foot of the Andes, the vineyards benefit from large diurnal temperature variations which result in longer ripening seasons and more elegant wines.

A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Malbec and 10% Syrah spent 12 days fermenting at 26-29°C. Malolactic fermentation was allowed before the wine aged for 12 months in French and American oak, followed by a year in bottle before release.

A deep red wine with violet shades. There is a rich aroma of black plums, blackberries and tobacco leaves. On the palate it is soft, elegant and complex with a long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£27.25

Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Located in the high altitude Tupungato Valley region of Mendoza, this modern winery benefits from a long, cool growing season and strong UV sunlight that helps maximise the aromas and complexity of the resulting grapes. Tupungato sits at the western extreme of Mendoza right at the foot of the Andes mountains with an elevation of 1,200 meters giving benefit to the vineyards from a much cooler climate, abundant sun, and sharp contrast between day and night temperatures. When all the above is combined it allows the winemaker the opportunity to produce wines with utmost expression. Wine consultant Michel Rolland (from Bordeaux) has added his expertise to this project and in the last few years since launch the range of wines have received numerous awards and accolades.

100% Malbec.

To see Finca Sophenia's own excellent information for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£24.95

Kaiken Obertura Uco Valley Cabernet Franc 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Kaiken Obertura Uco Valley Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes in the same way to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.

The grapes are sourced from Valle de Uco, one of Mendoza’s most prestigious sub-regions. Kaiken’s vineyard, located in Vista Flores, sits at 1,350 metres above sea level. Here, sunny days are followed by cool nights – this slows the growing season and allows Kaiken to obtain excellent grapes with wonderful freshness. The soils are mostly alluvial and are largely made up of pebbles and rocks.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note about this wine that has been written by the team at Kaiken, please click on the blue link below.

Kaiken Obertura 2015 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

This Cabernet Franc is deep ruby red in colour with elegant purple shades. The nose is complex, with ripe redcurrants, fresh plums and red pepper combined with spicy notes of black pepper. On the palate, it has beautiful fruit concentration balanced by fresh acidity and minerality, reflecting the high-altitude location of Vista Flores. The long, elegant finish displays red fruit and spicy aromas.

ABV = 14.5%.

£26.25

Perfiles Malbec Calcareo, Trapiche 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintagewas awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their on-line October 2017 review (see blue link below)

Perfiles Malbec Calcareo, Trapiche 2015 - Oct 2017 Decanter review

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. Led by Daniel Pi, their Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is in this way that Trapiche has become Argentina's largest fine wine exporter.

The vineyards for the Calcareo, as one might imagine, have a calcareous soil profile, and lie at more than 1,300 meters above sea level. Fighting to survive in these unique, extreme conditions, the vines have developed a resistance that results in robust, vibrant wines.

The fruit for this wine is harvested by hand following a process of careful bunch selection. After destemming, the juice undergoes fermentation initiated by natural yeasts in small concrete vats for a period of 15-18 days at 23°-25°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels of 60 hl capacity for 6 months.

The tannins play a huge role in this wine´s profile. It is bursting with flavour with a balanced delicious length. This demonstrates how Malbec responds to different soils in nearby vineyards - to be compared with Trapiche's Perfiles 'Textura Fina'. Grown on limestone, this has more lifted, floral aromas, alongside toasty oak. The texture is more delicate and satiny, and yet it still displays fine concentration and length.This Malbec is very full of structure, flavour & intensity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.75

Perfiles Malbec Textura Fina, Trapiche 2018 (1x75cl)

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. Led by Daniel Pi, their Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is in this way that Trapiche has become Argentina's largest fine wine exporter.

The fruit for this wine is harvested by hand following a process of careful bunch selection. After destemming, the juice undergoes fermentation using natural yeasts in small concrete vats for a period of 15-18 days at 23°-25°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels of 60 hl capacity for 6 months.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

100% Malbec.

This demonstrates how Malbec responds to different soils - here, it's from vines grown on fine textured soils, rich in clay and silt - to be compared with the Perfiles Calcareo. Grown on clay soil, this has lovely creamy damson flavours, beautiful velvety texture and lovely lingering finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.65
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