In 1997, 20 years ago, we made the first vintage of our Malbec Reserve. This vintage appeared under the name “Altos de Medrano Reserva Viña Hormigas”. We made the wine using grapes from La Consulta, in the Uco Valley. They were just 30,000 bottles; our company was young, but already counting on the experience and the talent of our partners Alberto Antonini and Attilio Pagli. By 1997, not many people appreciated the value of the grapes from the Uco Valley. Vistalba, Agrelo and Perdriel – in the area known as “first zone” in Mendoza – were getting most of the attention of local winemakers and wineries. Our curiosity at the time (which, by the way, remains intact today) led us to search beyond those appellations; a spirit that we would later embody in our “Terroir Project”.
A lot has changed for our Malbec Reserve in these 20 years: the name, from Altos de Medrano to Altos Las Hormigas; the place of origin of its grapes, from La Consulta to Gualtallary and Paraje Altamira; the way we age it, replacing the 225 liter oak barrels for large untoasted foudres. We are grateful to Mendoza for the wonderful learning journey we had the possibility to enjoy here, taking us to develop and get to the place where we are today… knowledge, as wine, needs time.
Altos Las Hormigas Reserve, fine and powerful at the same time, shows the unique features that come from the place of origin of the grapes. We have been working since 2008 to bring into focus the value of the different Terroirs of Mendoza. A long work that brought us to select the areas of Gualtallary and Paraje Altamira, two areas with large presence of limestone, granting the wine the fine tannins and chalky texture that we like so much, and then working in each single plot to divide them into small Terroir units, to achieve precision in terms of soil type, that reflects in a more definite character of the wine.
Our work has been rewarded by the most influential wine critics since our first vintage, as our 1997 Malbec Reserve received 91 points from Robert Parker, who wrote: “This wonderfully structured and powerful wine is crammed with embracing layers of blackberries, cassis, as well as touches of freshly ground black pepper. It is an intensely flavorful wine, yet Old World elegance can be discerned in its warmth”, and more recently Parker’s magazine “The Wine Advocate” rated our 2014 Malbec Reserve with 93 points, with the following review: “This wine will please more advanced drinkers, with its subtle minerality, its balance and tasty, almost salty finish. This is a sleek, fine and elegant representation of the limestone soils of the Valle de Uco”.
Not only Robert Parker encouraged us. Tim Atkin wrote that our 1999 Malbec Reserve was “one of South America’s best reds”; he also gave 93 points to our 2014 Malbec Reserve. James Suckling in Wine Spectator magazine rated the 2014 vintage with 92 points. The Reserve is the wine that was included four times on Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the World” ranking, climbing positions to number 42 of the best wines of the world.
We are quite proud to have taken this less traveled road, to show that Mendoza is naturally able to produce wines that combine altitude and sun, finesse and power, in the most extreme way, breaking the received wisdom about Malbec and Argentina many times over. We wish to thank all those partners that have accompanied us in the journey and have graciously supported our path.
Malbecs are not all made equals… Cheers!!!