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95pt Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Altamira 2014

£34.75 £29.50
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This superb wine is grown in the Altamira region of Argentina - Malbec country par excellence - where some of the freshest and longest-lived reds in the country are being produced from vineyards at a height of 1200 metres.

This elegant, complex Malbec has received a string of high scores and lovely notes from the critics and drinkers alike. It is without doubt, one of the best being produced in Argentina today - which also makes it one of the world's best - and at £29.50 represents serious value considering the incredible quality.

As always with wines of this calibre, we have only manged to get hold of a small amount (just 5000 bottles were made...) - so do make sure you don't miss out!

Argentina is one of the world's most exciting regions right now, with its fantastic terroir and high altitude vineyards starting to reach their full potential under a new generation of ambitious winemakers.

At the forefront of this wine revolution are Altos Las Hormigas. Only started in 1995 by a couple of winemakers from Tuscany, they are now recognised not only as a Malbec specialist but as one of the top producers of that grape in Argentina. Critic Tim Atkin has even placed them in his first rank of Argentine vineyards - his 'First Growth' equivalents!

They are terroir specialists, working with Pedro Parra (widely regarded as the South American expert on soil and vineyard mapping) to locate the best vineyards of Argentina from which they can work their magic.

About the wine

Fresh and delicate on the nose showing layers of black berry fruit and raspberry combined with floral and herbal notes. On the palate, it is elegant and supple with a distinct minerality, deliciously pure blackberry fruit, liquorice, spice and fine, chalky tannins. A graceful, complex, deep and structured wine with considerable length. Decant for a while and it is definitely lovely drinking now. But this has all the attributes to age beautifully. One of the best Malbecs out there!

The vines are located at 1,200 meters altitude on stony and chalky soils and the grapes fermented in small cement vats with indigenous yeasts, with punching down of the cap but without any pumping over. The wine matured in untoasted 3,500-liter French oak foudres for 18 months and was kept in bottle for one year before being released. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure that the quality of the wine was not interfered with.

WinemakerAlberto Antonini, Attilio Pagli and Leonardo Erazo
Appellation: Valle de Uco, Mendoza

- 95pts, Decanter 
- 94pts, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
- 94pts, Tim Atkin
- 93pts, James Suckling
- 93pts, Vinous
18/20pts, JancisRobinson.com
- 3.8/5 Stars, Vivino Rating

Grapes: 100% Malbec
Vineyard: Altamira vineyards
Cooperage: 18 months in untoasted oak foudres
ABV: 14.5%
Drink: 2018-2027

About the winery

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.

They have gone from being youthful interlopers to one of the country's leading producers, as well as being pioneers of a more elegant style of Malbec. Aside from their vineyard in Luján de Cujo, they are working very closely with Pedro Parra (widely regarded as the South American expert on soil and vineyard mapping) in order to identify the best locations to grow their grapes. Digging and probing each corner of Mendoza, they brought to light the singular aspects of outstanding sites, and aim to reveal their distinct characters through their wines.

From the Uco Valley they obtain a striking floral fragrance on the nose and a dark purple colour, whereas the calcareous sites of Vista Flores, Altamira and Gualtallary each bring distinctive aromas and mouth filling textures. A biodynamic approach in the vineyard, as well as minimal intervention in the winery – including using neutral oak, natural yeasts and minimal extraction – are practices dictated by Altos' philosophy to ensure the wine stays true to its place of origin.

Their combined wealth of experience as a winemaking team, as well as their never-ending experimentation and desire to produce the best wines that Argentina can offer, has made Altos Las Hormigas a Malbec specialist, with a reputation as one of the country's top few producers of this variety.

About the vineyard

The grapes are sourced from the alluvial terrace of Altamira, lying at 1,200 metres above sea level. Limestone covered pebbles and gravels occupy 85% of the soil volume, providing elegance and minerality in the wines. 3% of clay in the fine matrix allows the Malbec to express fresh red fruit flavours, as well as a delicate and elegant roundness on the palate.



95 Points 'Outstanding' - Decanter
"Stunning nose of crushed violets, mulberry, blackberry and graphite. Mineral-drenched palate of liquorice, spice and forest fruits. Superbly fine and smooth tannins and a long, cool, saline finish."


94 Points - Tim Atkin
”Showing the focus, perfume and grip that are a feature of many Altamira wines, this has bright acidity, sappy tannins, barely discernible oak, dark blackberry and damson fruit and typically chalky minerality. Brilliant and brave winemaking from the Chilean-Italian Altos crew.”


94 Points - Luis Gutierrez
Great price for the quality it delivers."


93 Points - James Suckling
Fresh and focused red with blackberry, violet and black tea aromas that follow through to a full body, firm tannins and a silky finish. Very fine."


93 points - Stephen Tanzer
"Bright medium ruby. Pungent, very dark aromas of blackberry pastille, licorice, violet, musky resin and bitter chocolate. Powerful, dense and fine-grained but not at all overly sweet. The black fruit and sexy spice flavors are complemented by bitter chocolate, leather and herbs but for all its muscularity and thickness it retains a light touch. Finishes broad and palate-saturating, with terrific clarity and length. A splendid example of Malbec, conveying a suggestion of creamy depth that I find captivating, not to mention strong terroir character from a topnotch site. This is sweet enough to give early pleasure but has the stuffing to age."


18/20 Points - Julia Harding MW
"Deep purple crimson. Savoury, rocky dark, dark fruit ...It is really very restrained on the nose, whispering rather than shouting its refinement and intensity. On the palate, that dusty/rocky mineral character is expressed as super-elegant black fruit, dry and very fine, almost chalky tannins. It's got remarkable freshness for a wine with 14.5% alcohol. There's dark chocolate - the bitter 70% type that leaves your mouth feeling clean and dry. Very classy wine, without make-up. And still a way to go to reveal greater depths and complexity with a few more years in bottle. Very very long."

"...Powerful and aromatic Malbec...needs a litte aeration. Evolves into a quite excellent wine during tasting. Recommended!" 4/5 Stars

"...An extremely elegant wine. Ruby red with purple tints, discreet floral nose, chalk. In the mouth acidity, very silky tannins, more chalk, a little spice and elegance"  4/5 Stars

"Ruby red. Intense fruit, plum and vanilla. Well balanced in the mouth, soft, intense and persistent. Very good" 4/5 Stars



Other Details

'First Growth' Malbec - the incredible 95 point high altitude Altamira from Altos Las Hormigas
"Brilliant and brave" 95 point 'First Growth' Malbec!
bright acidity, sappy tannins, barely discernible oak, dark blackberry and damson fruit and typically chalky minerality. Brilliant and brave winemaking"
bright acidity, sappy tannins, barely discernible oak, dark blackberry and damson fruit and typically chalky minerality. Brilliant and brave winemaking"
This superb wine is grown in the Altamira region of Argentina - Malbec country par excellence - where some of the freshest and longest-lived reds in the country are being produced from vineyards at a height of 1200 metres.
Elegant and complex it
2018-02-12 23:59:59
#review=Decanter 'Outstanding':
#review=Robert Parker Wine Advocate:
#review=Tim Atkin MW:
#review=James Suckling:
#stars_review=Vivino Rating:
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