Wine Review: Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve Valle De Uco Mendoza 2017

altossIn many respects this is classic Valle de Uco Malbec—floral, fresh, a bit racy, and kissed by rather than drenched in oak. But it takes fresh and racy to an extreme with a prominent sour plum flavor boosted by hard acidity that tensely ripples across the surface like a cut-glass argument.

Blackberry with pencil shavings, aromas of rock quarry and white pepper, and of course violets give the nose a distinctive character.

In the mouth it’s not rich and smooth. That taste of rock quarry settles into a gravelly seam that steadily ratchets up the intensity carrying the sour plum note well into the lengthy, tart, mouthwatering finish.

Soft, elegant tannins have presence but there is little bottom to this wine—the fruit stays in the treble clef with cries severe, anguished and inconsolable. The wine is more interesting than pleasing.

This wine needed air—30 minutes in the glass gave the fruit some shape. The “sonic seasoning” was curious. Loud or bombastic music made the sour plum stand out even more. Quiet, haunting sounds with bottled-up tension and a midrange synth bed hit the sweet spot. Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight was perfect until the balance falters when those thunderous drums come in at the end.

Notes: 100% Malbec grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts, minimal sulfur, and aged for 22 months in foudre of untoasted French oak. Vineyard elevation is about 2600 feet.

Score: 91

Price: $28

Alc: 13.5%

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