The 2016 Altocedro Gran Reserva La Consulta Mendoza Malbec will take everything you know about a great malbec and toss it out the window. But don’t let that happen. This wine is too awesome to throw out the window.
The Featured wine Pairing of Episode 82: Stories From The Edge of the wine Glass, Part 1: Wasted.
~93 Points, Robert Parker
Altocedro Malbec Es Muy Loco In All the Good Ways
The 2016 Altocedro Gran Riserva Malbec es muy loco, but in all the good ways. To start, Altocedro harvests from 70-year-old vines from a 107-year-old vineyard. Not unusual, especially for Mendoza malbec. BUT, then they take the harvested Malbec in whole clusters and barrel co-ferment with 4% Semillon in French oak. The winemaker then lets them roll around in barrels for 2 months. Literally, they roll the barrels 8 times a day for 60+ days, taking only the remaining free run to ferment. 50 barrels go in, 9 barrels worth of wine come out. That’s not ‘low yields’ but almost no yields!
I’ve always been a huge fan of malbec, and not just because of the empathy I feel for it. Malbec has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Bordeaux Family. She was the artsy-fartsy, Bohemian kid who ran off to Argentina and shunned the family name. With the Altocedro Malbec, the Prodigal Daughter has returned, and she’s ready to kick some ass. One whiff, and you know a bad bitch is in the house. It’s not as concentrated or extracted as some others, but still retains a “contained ripeness” and a friendly 13.9% alcohol.
Black and blue, with purple and crimson peeking through. A core of crushed blackberries, violets, vanilla, and a hint of roasted coffee define the aromatics. Lively acidity supports raspberry, red plum, and currant flavors zigzagging through fresh minerality, leading to a vibrant finish that lingers with slate and white pepper. Grilled flank steak + chimichurri + Altocedro Malbec = inappropriate groaning noises at the dinner table.
The Critics Rave For Altocedro Gran Riserva Malbec
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous nailed the hype when he said, “I first visited Altocedro in 2004, the year that owner Karim Mussi began his project. Since then, I have watched the winery grow as it focuses on producing wines from its own vineyards in La Consulta, with an emphasis on elegance above all else. Obsessive about quality, the self-described ‘Phoenician’ brings his inimitable sense of fun to everything he does. Altocedro Gran Reserva Malbec is one of the great local wines.”
Beyond being a phenomenal bargain, this is a world-class collectible as well. Wine Enthusiast picked the Altocedro Gran Reserva for its Guide to Investing in Malbec. “An enticing opportunity for wine investors, and still available at reasonable prices, many of these wines are improving their scores year over year and demand and value are rising accordingly. Made in small batches from elite vineyards that focus on regional expression, many of these malbecs can be enjoyed today or kept for several years when their scarcity will drive up the price.”
From Parker in Wine Advocate: “The 2016 Malbec Gran Reserva fermented in closed barrels with some three to four percent Sémillon in search of an elegant and less concentrated Malbec. The wine also matured In French oak barrels for 18 months, shorter than ever before, as it’s usually 24 months. 2016 was a very rainy year, when phenolic ripeness was reached very early, so the wine has a lighter profile and a fresh and floral nose, with a lot less impact from the oak than I expected. It has an exuberant and showy nose of sweet and oriental spices, very floral with cracked peppercorns. It has a medium body and less concentration than the Reserva, with nicely integrated oak—a great change from previous vintages—and very contained ripeness.
2016 Altocedro Malbec Tasting Notes:
|Look:||Black and blue, with purple and crimson peeking through the virtual opaqueness|
|Smell:||A core of crushed red and blackberries, violets, and floral notes, vanilla, and a hint of roasted coffee|
|Taste:||Elegant, with lively acidity supporting raspberry, red plum, and currant flavors|
|Finish:||Fresh minerality emerges, leading to a vibrant finish that lingers with slate and white pepper|
Traditional Argentine Parrillada covering a variety of meats, veggies, and chimichurri
From The Winery In Mendoza, Argentina
We strive for a La Consulta, terroir-driven Malbec that is elegant with great depth. Altocedro means “tall cedar.” Not only does a tall cedar tower over the property, but It serves as a metaphor for winemaker and owner Karim Mussi Saffie’s Lebanese-Argentine heritage. This flagship Gran Reserva is the epitome of Karim Mussi’s winemaking.
|WINEMAKER||Karim Mussi Saffie|
|VARIETALS||97% Malbec, 3% Semillon|
|APPELLATION||La Consulta, Valle de Uco, Mendoza|
|SOILS||Alluvial, sandy loam, rocky base|
|AGE OF VINEYARD||107 years|
|DENSITY||3,000 plants per acre|
|YIELDS||1.0 kg per plant|
|TOTAL ACIDITY||5.2 g/L|
|BARRELS||100% new Burgundian oak|