Altos las Hormigas Malbec Clásico is our most established wine and it was along with the Reserve, the first wine that we made, arguably a benchmark since the early days, when this grape was making its debut on the international market.
With our Terroir Project, since 2008, we set ourselves a goal: to show the potential of each area in Mendoza and the ability of Malbec as a variety to express diversity of origin. This endeavour, based in the experience and the vision of our team, needed a fresh start, and a new vision of Mendoza; an ambitious challenge filled with highs and lows, many achievements and also some dead ends.
The 2015 vintage of our Clásico has made us very happy. This is the first time that we can sense a subtle minerality, with a fresh and long palate feeling, a tension that makes it a truly unique Malbec, with a distinctive expression.
Our Malbec Clásico comes from Luján de Cuyo, where we select micro-terroirs with low clay content and some limestone presence. A soil that we call “fresh”, since it does not produce wines with ultra-ripe, sweet or jam notes.
The work on our own vineyards, the great investments, the long learning process, have finally led us to a result of which we are very proud.
The history of this new Malbec style
Since 2010 we have been working on our own vineyards with Terroir specialist Pedro Parra, along our winemaker Leo Erazo who joined in 2012, searching for interesting soils in the areas of Medrano, Lunlunta and Maipú. This is how we gained experience to be able to understand, in this areas and climates, which soils could provide the length, freshness and fine grain tannins we were looking for in the wine.
In the first years we accomplished fresher wines, due to the soils’ depth, but lacking the tension we pursued. This led us to making more than 80 micro-vinifications a year, obtaining a library of wines, soil types and harvest dates unique in our history.
It was time to start a true “job for ants” to get the style of wine that we envisioned. We changed the irrigation in our vineyards, installing a drip system custom designed for our Terroir; we worked with biodynamics specialist Alan York, who helped us adopting a natural farming approach; we planted 23 new hectares, in high density, cultivating them organically since the beginning, preparing the soil with worm humus.
We also learned that in this area superficial stones in the soil were working against the style we were looking for, making the grapes ripen too fast, delivering a big, ripe and sweet style we were trying to avoid. So we took the painful decision to uproot 8 hectares of vines that were planted on this type of soil.
All this long and demanding process, on the look for depth and tension, has finally led us to this 2015 vintage Malbec, a wine that makes us proud, with its unprecedented character, markedly different from any other Malbec coming from this area. The elaboration process avoids the use of oak, ageing the wine in concrete vats for 12 months, in order to keep the fruit character unhindered.
Today we can say without fear that not only the Uco Valley produces Malbecs with minerality. A new and exciting step for Altos Las Hormigas in its journey fostering Malbecs of the great and diverse Terroirs of Mendoza, that we wish to share with all those who have preciously supported our work.