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Malbec

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Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 - July 2020 Decanter review

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

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 - June 2020 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.

The result of the El Niño phenomenon in 2016 was relatively high humidity and frequent rains. Fortunately the rocky soils in the vineyard at Gualtallary facilitate drainage of the rainwater and keeps moisture to a minimum, reducing the threat of disease. Vine maturation was delayed by approximately 25 days, due to lower temperatures during the summer, however the lack of rain in March, enabled the grapes to reach good physiological ripeness and harvest took place as usual. Low sugar levels at resulted in wines with lower alcohol levels but plenty of flavour and varietal purity.

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 manually selected and underwent pre-fermentation 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 a minimum of six months in bottle, prior to release.

This wine is made using Malbec 100%.

A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas of red fruits and violets. 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.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.95

Chateau du Cedre Cahors 2016 (1x75cl)

Whether they are of traditional style or more modern and to be enjoyed in their youth, at Château du Cèdre they always produce terroir wines. This may seem contradictory, but it’s possible, thanks to the cooperation of the wine grower, who brings the grapes to perfect ripeness, and the wine maker who fully controls ageing and blending. As a result of ongoing observation and reflection, they combine Burgundy’s way of highlighting origin and terroir to vinification techniques from Bordeaux.

The vines of Château du Cèdre root in two different types of soil: The first terroir, composed of stony clay and limestone, give straight wines with fine tannins, while more powerful and dense wines come from soils composed of clay, sand and a large quantity of pebbles.

See blue link below for the excellent and informative fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Château du Cèdre.

Château du Cèdre Cahors 2016 - fiche technique

90% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 5% Tannat.

As the Château say(s): It is a straight wine, straight but alluring at the same time. It expresses the richness and depth of Malbec from Cahors with joy and enthusiasm through a medium-bodied and expressive palate, with crisp tannins, vibrant freshness and appealing roundness. Its bouquet, marked by black fruits, spices, mint and some fresh peppers, evolves and grows gradually, giving length and finesse to the wine. This wine has great aromatic strength and perfectly pairs with local dishes: duck breast, confit, cassoulet, lamb, grilled meat, new cuisine, cheese.

ABV = 13.5%.

£18.40

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

Finca Sophenia Estate Reserve Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Argentina: My Top 25.

Finca Sophenia Estate Reserve Malbec 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

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 Julia Halupzcok, the winemaker and consultant Matias Michelini, the opportunity to produce wines with utmost expression. In August 2019 they achieved the sustainability certification in accordance with the Bodegas de Argentina Sustainabilityl, duly certified by Letis, a company dedicated to the certification and auditing of international standards in quality and sustainability.

The biggest and most important of Argentina`s wine regions, Mendoza includes a wide variety of altitudes and micro-climates to allow a huge range of wine styles. Many early winemakers were of Italian origin and brought with them their native Barbera, Bonarda and Sangiovese. However, it is Malbec, originally from Bordeaux and the south west of France, that has established the most successful presence in Mendoza.

Malbec 100%.

This Reserve Malbec has an intense deep red colour with violet hues. Complex aromas of plums and ripe cherries and violets. It is enhanced by the presence of dry fruits and mint hints. A wine of great concentration, showing sweet and voluminous tannins and wonderful complexity.

Grilled steak with a pepper sauce, spiced beef and Mexican dishes.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.35

Kaiken by Montes Ultra Malbec 2017 (1x75cl)

Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes 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. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.

The fruit for the Malbec Ultra was sourced from the Uco Valley. Variations in altitude and soil type result in grapes with distinct characteristics that give unique and highly complex wines. Grapes are sourced from three separate vineyards, at different altitudes: Vista Flores at 1,400 metres above sea level, Gualtallary at 1,300 metres above sea level, and Altamira at 1,100 metres above sea level. In spite of location and altitude variations, all three soil types are similar: alluvial soil with some sand and silt on top of very rocky layers that provide excellent drainage and ideal conditions to grow highly concentrated grapes.

The must was fermented in small tanks under optimum conditions to preserve the individual vineyard characters and qualities. After one month of fermentation, including maceration, the wine was transferred into French oak barrels, one third of which were new and two thirds of which were 2nd and 3rd use barrels. The wine was aged in barrels for 12 months and was lightly filtered before bottling.

The 2017 vintage in Mendoza was generally warm and dry. Cooler temperatures before harvest meant wines were slightly lower in alcohol, but had well preserved acidity. 2017 is considered one of the best vintages in recent years in Mendoza.

100% Malbec.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour, with purple tones and a wonderful display of rich aromas. The nose is enticing and spicy with black fruit aromas and floral notes. Good structure and soft tannins lead to a finish that is fresh, complex and long, with fruit notes and subtle undertones of rosemary, thyme, and dry flowers.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.00

Santa Ana Reserve Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

Santa Ana was founded in 1891 by Luis Tirasso, an Italian immigrant and a pioneer in the development of winemaking in Argentina. With over 120 years experience in the wine industry, Santa Ana winery was one of the first to be founded in Argentina. All along, innovation has been their determinant attribute, as well as a key element to positioning themselves before the ever shifting consumer preferences. Technology and state-of-the-art winemaking techniques are driving forces for the company at present and signal their future.

Hand selected bunches are picked from superior quality vineyards within the Bodegas Santa Ana estate in Cuyo, Mendoza. Vines are planted on deep and stony soil. After de-stemming, the bunches are crushed and the juice is fermented (with seleted yeasts) with extended skin contact, beginning in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. 50% of the wine is finished/aged in both French and Americal barriques/barrels, a proportion of which are new. The wine is bottled after filtration and cold stabilisation.

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.

Dense purple in colour with bright brick red highlights. Powerfully aromatic, showing concentrated stone fruit aromas such as plums and prunes with a hint of spicy oak. The palate is medium to full bodied with a stylish balance between dense black fruit flavours, tightly knit fine grained tannin and judicious use of oak. Finishes firm and grippy - perfect for drinking with red meat! Sweet aromas of blackberries and plums are enhanced by subtle vanilla notes. Good structure and velvety texture, with soft tannins and long length.

A great partner to red meat dishes, particularly when a rich sauce has been used. Try it with a slow braised lamb shank with parsnip puree for example.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 13.5%.

£12.90

Terroir Series Finca Coletto Trapiche 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Argentina: My Top 25.

Terroir Series Finca Coletto,Trapiche 2015 - April 2020 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 of their fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has certainly 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. True to its origins, today Trapiche continues to seek out and use the latest and best practices available. Led by Daniel Pi, 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. 

Hand harvesting is carried out and the grapes for this wine are transported back to the winery in 20 kg plastic cases. There is meticulous bunch selection before the grapes are destemmed. Only the best grapes are selected for inclusion. Fermentation takes place using only wild yeasts and maceration occurs in small concrete vats over 25 days, at 23-25ºC. Natural malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur.

The wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels.

100% Malbec.

Aromas of black cherries and forest berries such as blackberries and blueberries. This wine is full bodied with juicy black fruits, soft tannins and an elegant finish. This is a Malbec with a deep and intense red-violet colour. The aromas are of red fruits, plums, black cherries and forest berries such as blackberries and blueberries. It is fresh and full as it enters the mouth, with sweet, juicy, ample tannins and a very elegant finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£27.70

Zuccardi Tito 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2018 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their October 2020 Top 20 South American Red Blends (see blue link below).

Zuccardi Tito 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Some years before 1950, engineer Alberto ‘Tito’ Zuccardi arrived in Mendoza from Tucumán, the small province in northwest Argentina where his Italian grandparents had settled many years before. He began experimenting with new irrigation systems because, back then as is the case today, water management is strategic due to its scarcity. In 1963 he planted a vineyard in the Maipú region, aiming to show other neighbouring farmers how his irrigation system worked, not realising at the time that this would be the beginning of his life’s passion.

Today Bodega Zuccardi Valle de Uco is led by Sebastián Zuccardi. Following in the footsteps of his Grandfather, Alberto and his Father, José, Sebastián’s aim is to create wines of great purity, firmly rooted in the terroirs of the Uco Valley, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

Located in the Paraje Altamira, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains, the Zuccardi winery was designed to reflect the surrounding landscape. It was built as a tribute to the austere and solemn mountains that define the climate and the soils of the region. The construction is part of the landscape, made using materials sourced from the estate and the nearby Tunuyan River. It is composed of concrete from the outside to the inside, from the stone walls, oblique and imposing, to the concrete vats in which are the wines aged.

The Zuccardi family mission is to establish working policies which minimise the impact on the environment and which can contribute to the overall awareness of environmental issues in society today. They base all their decisions, for both production and distribution processes, on a respect for the soil, the air, the flora and fauna, and the whole community. They are focusing towards sustainable agriculture, co-existing with nature without damaging it. They keep a comprehensive waste recycling policy and they incorporate the use of alternative energy sources into the production systems.

Fermented with native yeast in concrete vats. Skin maceration after fermentation for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in concrete and French oak barrels. 40% of the wine was the put in used 500-litre, French oak barrels while the rest remained in concrete. Zuccardi do not specify a barrel time for the 2017, but previous vintages have varied from 6 to 12 months.

General wine note: Tito, named after the grandfather, experimenter and innovator, is the wildcard in the Zuccardi pack. It is all about Paraje Altamira. It changes from vintage to vintage according to what varietals stands out. 2016 was a blend of Malbec, Cab Sauv, Ancellotta and Caladoc. 2017 is Malbec and Cab Franc. The wood to concrete regime also changes year by year. Sebastien leans towards a high % of concrete – too austere for some. Jose has a more traditional palate – making big, rich, dense wines with other varietals (to the Malbec) adding dimension and complexity.

The 2017 harvest, despite being low in yields, produced grapes with a perfect health and quality in each region. Thanks to the climatic conditions, that were similar to a typical year of Mendoza, the wines produced had a very good balance.

85% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc.

Violet color with deep blue hues. Black and red fruit aroma and other herbal notes. The palate has a silky entry with nice and juicy tannins, aromatic and receiving end of a long and deep mouth complexity.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£27.30

Zuccardi, Concreto Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 17 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.com) - reviewer Jancis herself - in March 2020 (see blue link below)...

Zuccardi, Concreto Malbec 2018 - jancisrobinson.com March 2020 review

... and subsequently made Wine of the Week there in July 2020 ...

"This imbues a fresh acidity and encourages a perfumed, violet, floral character that together bring a sense of lightness to a wine despite its weight – at 14% it is no shrinking violet! That floral perfume is augmented by a second feature of Zuccardi’s winemaking here – a significant proportion of whole bunches. These add a lifted, half-herbal, half-floral scent that is, for me, distinctive when stems are present in a fermentation, and which works well here. The floral accent carries through to a good long finish that is accompanied by a savoury, flinty edge and a pinch of chalky tannins, completing a style that is a long way from the ripe, sweet-black-fruit-and-vanilla bombs of old". Tim Jackson, MW, 10th July 2020, on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages, www.JancisRobinson.com 

___

Some years before 1950, engineer Alberto ‘Tito’ Zuccardi arrived in Mendoza from Tucumán, the small province in northwest Argentina where his Italian grandparents had settled many years before. He began experimenting with new irrigation systems because, back then as is the case today, water management is strategic due to its scarcity. In 1963 he planted a vineyard in the Maipú region, aiming to show other neighbouring farmers how his irrigation system worked, not realising at the time that this would be the beginning of his life’s passion.

Today Bodega Zuccardi Valle de Uco is led by Sebastián Zuccardi. Following in the footsteps of his Grandfather, Alberto and his Father, José, Sebastián’s aim is to create wines of great purity, firmly rooted in the terroirs of the Uco Valley, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

Located in the Paraje Altamira, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains, the Zuccardi winery was designed to reflect the surrounding landscape. It was built as a tribute to the austere and solemn mountains that define the climate and the soils of the region. The construction is part of the landscape, made using materials sourced from the estate and the nearby Tunuyan River. It is composed of concrete from the outside to the inside, from the stone walls, oblique and imposing, to the concrete vats in which are the wines aged.

The Zuccardi family mission is to establish working policies which minimise the impact on the environment and which can contribute to the overall awareness of environmental issues in society today. They base all their decisions, for both production and distribution processes, on a respect for the soil, the air, the flora and fauna, and the whole community. They are focusing towards sustainable agriculture, co-existing with nature without damaging it. They keep a comprehensive waste recycling policy and they incorporate the use of alternative energy sources into the production systems.

50% whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vats (without epoxy) using native yeasts and maceration for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation and ageing in concrete vats. 

100% Malbec.

No oak/wood is brought to bear, hence the name.

Zuccardi Concreto Malbec is a delicious wine, that defies its youth and with a freshness that makes it fun to drink now. On the palate, there's red and dark fruits, blackberry, a hint of spicy cherry with some herby tones. The finish is very dry. A remarkable wine of youth, that will develop further with age.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£24.00
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