El Esteco Chañar Punco
In northern Argentina, a small group of producers tirelessly works to create wines that honestly represent their incredible terroir. Bodega El Esteco is one of them.
One example of this kind of winemaking is the winery’s iconic wine, Chañar Punco. From a vineyard situated in Catamarca at 2,000 meters above sea level, it is a blend of 65% Malbec and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested manually and each vinified separately. After the wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, the best 8 barrels are selected to make the final blend.
Chañar Punco is a concentrated wine with notes of ripe fruit, spices and vanilla. On the palate it is intense, with firm tannins, a certain richness and a long finish.
Estancia Uspallata Malbec
In Uspallata, at 2,000 meters above sea level, sits the highest vineyard in Mendoza. Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach went all the way up there to find this tiny oasis of poor, rocky limestone soils lost among the mountains, and realize its potential to make great high altitude wines.
Estancia Uspallata Malbec is one of the revelations of recent years. With a mere three harvests under their belt, they have already received high praise and honors from international critics and wine media. Grapes are harvested by hand and undergo various micro-vinifications, always seeking the best expression of this unique terroir. Aging occurs for 14 months in mostly used French oak barrels.
The result is a rugged, powerful Malbec with notes of black fruits and spices, a crisp yet velvety texture and a long finish.
If we’re talking about pushing the limits, the Michelini brothers inevitably spring to mind. This family of Mendozan growers has a beautiful winery in Los Chacayes, in The Vines Winemakers Village. It is there that we find the SuperUco Gualta.
Matías Michelini makes this blend of 65% Malbec and 35% Cabernet Franc with specially selected grapes from a biodynamic parcel planted on limestone soils in Gualtallary.
From those unique grapes he is able to craft a fresh, lean wine, with subtle and complex aromas and an elegant, mineral palate.
Corazón del Sol Gran Reserva Malbec
Los Chacayes is one of the most influential regions of the Valle de Uco. In the Vines village sits Corazón del Sol, oenologically managed by Cristian Moor and producer of the highest scoring Argentine wine in the 2019 Wine Spectator report.
Corazón del Sol Gran Reserva Malbec comes from a singular parcel planted on an old riverbed covered with large alluvial limestone rocks. The soil conditions and dry climate here translate into extremely low yields, which in turn leads to a complex wine with floral and red fruit aromas, an elegant mid-palate, fresh acidity, good body and an intriguing texture.
Daniel Pi is one of the principal references in Argentine winemaking and the chief winemaker for powerhouse Grupo Peñaflor. But he also has his own wine, which he makes in his garage with his family’s help. We are talking about Imperfecto, one of the most critically lauded Argentine wines in the world.
Imperfecto is a Malbec “contaminated” with 3% Cabernet Franc, both from Gualtallary, with 18 months aging in used French oak barrels. Its predominant aromas of black fruit and chocolate awaken the senses. It has an elegant and velvety entry, good body and an explosive finish.
When talking about the Valles Calchaquíes, we must mention Domingo Molina. This family winery located in Cafayate (Salta) boasts a vineyard at 2,200 meters above sea level. From that vineyard come the grapes for Rupestre, a blend of Malbec, Tannat and Merlot with 12 months of aging in French oak barrels.
Rupestre is an elegant wine, with notes of ripe fruit, tobacco and chocolate. On the palate it is powerful yet fresh and balanced, with a long finish--an excellent example of what these valleys have to offer.
Altocedro Gran Reserva Malbec
Very few producers know their terroir like Karim Musi Saffie. In his winery Altocedro, Karim interprets as no one else can the secrets of La Consulta, one of the Valle de Uco’s most emblematic sites. Within the Altocedro portfolio we find this Malbec, from the winery’s own vineyards, and with 24 months of aging in new Burgundian oak barrels.
The Altocedro Gran Reserva Malbec is a wine with serious cellaring potential, intense, highly structured and complex. Its aromatics are ever-evolving in the glass, and on the palate it is round with smooth tannins and a long finish.
This is just a taste of how much Argentine wines can add to your personal cellar. Choose the one you like best, you won’t be disappointed.