2018 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve (750ml)

Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina

B-21 Top Recommendation
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Ironically the great terrains of the vine are adverse to grape production. That swaths of Chateauneuf du Pape are planted in a bed of old river (Rhone River) stone flouts the mind. Much of Spain's Priorat vines are planted on vertiginously steep, ancient terraced slopes of decomposed slate. A winery guide on the touristic island of Santorini would point out vines planted in granite rock with its vine trellised in cirlces around the grape cluster to protect the fruit from the wind. Maybe the most remarkable, extreme vines exist on Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Indeed extreme is the standard here. The world's most challenging Ironman race takes place on Lanzarote each May. Volcanic activity have challenged the vignerons here, meters of volcanic ash sitting atop the island force them to burrow down to the "top soil" where the vine is planted. The landscape looks black-lunar, worthy of your Google Earth.

In Argentina at elevations of five thousand feet is the deserted region of Tupungato. Here in the foothills of the Andes defines the elevation limits of vines as Mt. Tupungato volcano soars in the vista to 22,000 feet. At the north end of the Uco Valley lies Tupungato. Within the region of Tupungato is coveted Gualtallary where some argue the best wines of Argentina call home. Clearly the altitude and exposition play a key role here as does the diurnal temperature swings of twenty degrees or more in a cool climate. What makes Gualtallary truly unique is the soils. Poor soils – adverse to grape production. Limestone stressed vine in vigor and yields, in effect a more concentrated wine. Alluvial soils of sand and stone force the vine to seek more nutrients. Wines of Gualtallary and Altamira have great concentration, but also freshness coming from limestone acidity and elevation.


The limestone starts in the Reserva/Reserve range, of which I tasted the 2018 Malbec Reserve, which is produced from vineyards on limestone soils in Altamira and Gualtallary. This is incredibly elegant, floral and expressive, with superb minerality on the palate. It has fine-grained tannins and is silky, tasty, long and expressive. Superb! This wine is all about texture, and it's the best reserve I ever remember.

94+ points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Issue # 245 - Oct 2019)

In its current era, ALH is focused on producing styles that reflect the terroir in new ways. A blend of grapes from Gualtallary and Paraje Altamira, the Reserve was aged in foudres for 18 months. Bright, purplish red. The fruit on the nose is hidden behind aromas of violet and herbs plus a hint of cherry. The vertical palate revolves around freshness and chalky tannins. This is a reductive, skinny red, all bone and tension. For drinkers who follow the latest trends.

92 points, Joaquín Hidalgo, Vinous (Oct 2020)

Alcohol By Volume: 13.5%
60+ bottles in stock. Ships in 1 to 2 business days.