Sunday, April 28, 2013

Altos Las Hormigas Reserve from Mendoza, Argentina

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve 2005Altos Las Homigas
Reserva 2005 Malbec
Valle de Uco
Vintage: 2005
Mendoza, Argentina

Altos las Hormigas was started in 1995 by a former Tuscan winemaker of the Antinori estate, Alberto Antonini. He joined forces with Antonio Morescalchi and scouted the area of Mendoza to begin their venture. Soon after they were joined by 3 additional prominent figures in the wine industry.  

The title of this wine ,"Altos las Hormigas", comes from the over 3,000 foot elevation of the vineyards and hormigas, meaning ants, because they had challenges in the vineyards with these pesky insects.

I had an interesting experience with this wine. In my opinion the fruit has been lost from this vintage and I believe it's past its peak. Although I have tried recent vintages at current tastings and have a different opinion of this wine in a more positive light. They are a very well respected producer. I even tried this wine the next day and it was much better than the first day. It definitely needed to open up a bit and loosen up. This wine awhile back has been rated number 45 out of 100 from Wine Spectator for those of you that love ratings.

This wine definitely needs food paired with it. I would recommend grilled meats or even pasta with sauce.

This wine had been aged 18 months in French oak. On the nose I detected a strong scent of raisins and raspberries. It's a deep, dark burgundy color and is a fuller bodied wine with a very dry finish with decent tannins.

The varietal, Malbec, comes from the south of France where it's called cot. In 1852 Malbec was brought over to Argentina by a French agronomist, Michel Puget. In the 19th century in France, as well as other countries, Malbec was being destroyed by phylloxera, an insect that feasts on the roots and leaves of grapevines.   

Argentina has the largest acreage of Malbec in the world. This area in Mendoza has over 300 days of sunshine a year with desert and semi-desert climate with hot days and cool nights. Here they also experience low humidity making the grapes less susceptible to fungi and insects.