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Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle de Uco Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World" (see blue link below)...

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Gualtallary Valle De Uco Malbec 2014 - August 2018 Decanter review

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 88 hectares with 56 in production.

100% of this Malbec was grown on the loamy soils of Gualtallary, lying at 1,300 metres above sea level. There, limestone-covered pebbles and gravels occupy 50-60% of the soil volume, with a high percentage of free calcium carbonate giving the wine a chalky, fresh minerality. A small percentage of clay (3%) allows the Malbec to express fresh fruit flavours.

The season began with severe frosts reducing yields by 30%. November brought a few dry Zonda winds that negatively affected flowering and lowered yields even more. December and January saw heatwaves, though lower temperatures moved into the region just before harvest. Three weeks before harvest, two years’ worth of rain fell. Grapes were therefore harvested prior to mildew or rot setting in. Despite these challenges, fruit showed good levels of acidity, lower alcohol content and fine tannins.

The grapes went through a double selection process and into small stainless steel tanks for pre-fermentation maceration at 5°C for seven days. The alcoholic fermentation began with indigenous yeasts at 24°C and continued for 15 days. In total, the wine spent three weeks on its skins. Pumping over was not carried out in order to minimise over-extraction of grape skin compounds. Instead, the cap was rotated by manual pigeage throughout the fermentation. Once this was completed, post-fermentation maceration began for four days. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted foudres for 18 months followed by 12 months in bottle.

Fresh red fruit notes, cranberries and wild strawberries are followed by layers of spice and herbs. On the palate, fruit is intensely concentrated intensifying through the mid-palate to the finish. The limestone tannins and calcareous soils build a firm but balanced structure in the mouth, with elegant minerality and a long finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£32.45

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

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American signature grapes (see blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation (Paraje Altamira) Malbec 2014 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

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 2017 (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 88 hectares with 56 in production.

Most of the fruit for the Clasico comes from Altos Las Hormigas' estate in Lujan de Cuyo. Soils there are silt-based. The wines are also supplemented with fruit from Agrelo, which has more clay. The climate here is semi-desert with hot days and cool nights which help the aromatic development of the grapes.

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 Gran Corte 2016 (1x 75cl)

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 estates' 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.

The grapes were crushed after both a cluster and berry selection at the winery and then cooled to 8°C with a maceration period 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.

This wine is deep purple in colour, with aromas of red and black fruit with spicy notes, typical to the region. A concentrated, complex and elegant wine full of fruit with round tannins. The aftertaste is long and delicate.

£15.45

Amalaya Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition expert review of Argentina's Calchaqui Valley  (see blue link below).

Amalaya Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was 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 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.

85% Malbec, 10% Tannat, 5% Petit Verdot (and labelled solely as Malbec for the first time with this vintage).

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)

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). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2015 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions 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. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global 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. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. Grown in soils which are predominantly alluvial and sandy, the vines undergo strict canopy management in order to reduce yields.

The clusters were hand selected prior to vinification 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.

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. Serve with a juicy pan-fried steak, braised lamb shanks or a rich lentil stew.

£15.65

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American Cabernet Franc  (see blue link below)

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2014 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions 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. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

2014 was a challenging vintage with severe frosts significantly reducing the yields. December and January saw heatwaves which helped the growing season to progress, but late season heavy rainfall and lower temperatures just before the harvest threatened the vintage with mildew and rot. The timing of the harvest was crucial to avoid rot and careful selections took place, vinifying only the best grapes. The wines show fine aromatics and fruit concentration, with refined tannins.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The plants are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vines are grown in alluvial, sandy and permeable soils.

The grapes were hand-picked in the coolness of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in new French oak barrels for a period of 12 to 18 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release.

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. Serve with full flavoured meats such as steak or lamb.

£29.59

Argento Esquinas de Argento Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1998 in Argentina’s most famous wine region, Mendoza, Argento has been the leading Argentinean wine brand in Europe for the last ten years. Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards, desert-like climate and natural irrigation from Andean snow melt create the perfect conditions to produce world-class fruit. The winemaking team at Argento first set out to unlock the extraordinary potential of Malbec and reveal its vibrant, velvety character and intense fruit flavours. Expanding on their success with Malbec, Argento now applies the same philosophy to producing Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Esquinas represents the vibrant, urban Buenos Aires, where life happens on the streets. Each one of the Esquinas de Argento labels pays tribute to the emblematic corners (esquinas) of the city, where the colours, the movements, the sounds and the people give the town its captivating energy. “Esquinas: where life happens”.

The fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks at 22-28°C for 7 days. The wine is then micro-oxygenated prior to malolactic fermentation. The wine is then aged for 6 months in 60% French and 540% American oak.

Dark purple with bluish glints, this superb Malbec offers vibrant aromas of cherries, ripe plums, blackberries and truffles. Unctuous in the mouth with notes of plum and sweet cherry, with a touch of chocolate and cinnamon from oak aging, leading into a long lingering finish with velvety tannins.

£11.00

Argento Seleccion Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Established in 1998 in Argentina’s most famous wine region, Mendoza, Argento has been the leading Argentinean wine brand in Europe for the last ten years. Mendoza’s high altitude vineyards, desert-like climate and natural irrigation from Andean snow melt create the perfect conditions to produce world-class fruit. 

At Bodega Argento they are very proud of Argentina’s wine heritage and the unique terroir of Mendoza. They are dedicated to making wines that express a true varietal character. Fruit purity, freshness, vibrancy and elegance are the distinct hallmarks of the Argento style.

This wine undergoes a stainless steel fermentation at 77-80°F for 7 days. Once this part of the winemaking process is complete, the wine is aged in oak for 6 months (60% French and 40% American oak).

This superb Malbec has a deep violet colour and offers concentrated aromas of black cherries and chocolate notes. The rich blackberry and black currant fruit flavours are rounded off perfectly by soft, supple tannins.

£9.35

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 2015 (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 2016 (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 Cecchin Graciana 2016 (6x 75cl)

The (now-unavailable) 2014 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Best Organic & Biodynamic Buys Under £30. This new vintage is also thoroughly excellent!

Cecchin Graciana 2014 - December 2017 Decanter review

The first members of the Cecchin family came from Italy to Argentina in 1910 and found work in the local vineyards.  In 1959, Jorge and Pedro Cecchin fulfilled their dream of owning their own land by acquiring 11 hectares of vineyards and olive groves, and the winery which dates back to 1901. Bodegas Cecchin have been certified organic both in the vineyards and in the processing of grapes since 2005.

In addition to the vineyards which are planted with a wide range of varieties, Bodega Cecchin also has peach and apricot orchards, olive groves and walnut and almond groves to add to the biodiversity of the estate.   

The wine is fermented in 12000 litre vats at a controlled temperature after which malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur.  The wine is then filtered but not fined before bottling.

The grape variety of Rioja shows a relaxed countenance in Mendoza. The fruit is soft - more on the strawberry side - with a touch of liquorice and herbal seasoning.  

 

£71.80
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