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Malbec

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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

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Terroir 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recomended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) - in their December 2017 edition - in their Weekday Wines column (see blue link below)... (yes, and cheaper than your local high-street boutique supermarket...)

Altos las Hormigas 2014 - December 2017 Decanter review

Opaque black in colour, with flashes of violet and an ethereal, highly complex nose with notes of red and black fruits, spices, smoke, forest groves and sweet, fresh wood. The palate has excellent breadth and depth of juicy fruit. The acidity is fresh and the tannins are firm but fine-textured, supporting the berry flavours well on the long, elegant finish.

£16.05

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

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

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 '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 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

Catena Alta Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

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

Catena Alta Malbec 2014 - fiche technique

This a dark purple coloured wine, with an intense nose of ripe berry fruits with layers of cinnamon and spice. This elegant, full-bodied Malbec has rich cassis and blackcurrant fruit flavours interwoven with hints of chocolate, vanilla and black pepper.

£29.05

Catena Appellation (Vista Flores) Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec 2016 - fiche technique

The Catena Malbec Appellation Vista Flores shows a dark violet colour with black reflections. The nose offers ripe, concentrated dark and red fruit aromas with delicate floral notes of lavender and violet, and mocha. The mouthfeel is rich and full with notes of sweet spice and a touch of leather. The finish presents soft, well-integrated tannins with bright, crisp acidity that gives the wine exceptional length.

£13.90

Catena Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

See/click the link below for data on this wine from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Malbec 2016 - fiche technique

The Catena Malbec presents a deep violet colour with purple reflections. This microclimate blend of four unique vineyards offers intense aroma, soft texture and concentrated flavour. Deep aromas of ripe red and dark fruits are joined by delicate violet and lavender notes, with traces of vanilla and mocha. A rich, concentrated mouthfeel is highlighted by flavours of blueberries and blackberries with a touch of leather and cinnamon. The wine has well-integrated tannins, bright acidity and a flinty minerality that provides exceptional length to the finish.

£13.95
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