2016 'Primeras Viñas' Gualtallary Mendoza Malbec
Argentina: Mendoza: Gualtallary
Altitude sans attitude
Saturday is for…
HIGH scoring, massively discounted, world class Malbec! Like this beauty, which cranked out 96 points from Decanter – the British authority on all fine wine matters, ranking among the TOP 5 Malbecs of the vintage. AND a 96 from Descorchados, sort of the Wine Advocate of Argentina/Chile. Oh, AND a bonus 94 point rating from Wine Advocate. We’re talking dead-serious, primetime Malbec at the top of its class for under $30!!
No wonder, just like Catena, Lagarde is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza. They’re intensely committed to perfecting every aspect of farming and winemaking. It all starts with the biodynamically farmed, gnarly old vines dating back to the late 1800s, painstakingly cultivated high up in the Andes soaring over 5,000 feet above sea level, as some of the highest vineyards in the world. From there it’s all hand sorting, native yeast fermenting, low intervention winemaking focused on bringing out the purest representation of the varietal.
Surely this must be one of the best examples of Malbec in the world. In the glass it’s all black and blue with a glowing a purple rim. Insane violet aromas pop from the glass. The beautiful core of luminous red and purple fruits fades from blueberry to plum to Bing cherry and there’s a fascinating minerality creeping around back with a touch of cinnamon and spice. A long, long finish, shows a perfectly integrated touch of oak that adds an alluring vanilla streak.
All that for under $30? And it was $70 upon release!
Just can’t think of a better value that shows how Argentinan Malbec can hang with the big dogs of Bordeaux! You’d have to spend WAY more than $100 to find something similar over there.
Apparently, their thirsty fans in Buenos Aires and London are hooked on this and grabbed a lion’s share, as the container landed short of our hopes, so not much of it to begin with!
96 Points – Decanter
“To emphasise the freshness of this Malbec from the Gualtallary heights, winemaker Juan Roby advanced the harvest and aged the wine in large foudres so that the wood does not intervene in its delicious red fruit flavours. It is bright, juicy, tense and full of crunchy tannins that ask for food. Drink 2019-2026.”
96 Points – Descorchados
“When winemaker Juan Roby began to see the potential of the grapes growing in his vineyard in one of the highest parts of Gualtallary, he thought it was a good idea to let the flavors speak for themselves as much as possible. And so he has harvested earlier and aged the wines in casks to keep the oak out of the spotlight. The result is a wine with a strong mineral component. Rather than fruit, what you taste here is coal and stone. The texture is tense and rigid, with piercing, firm, vertical tannins that speak of the vineyard’s chalky soils. It’s a tremendous wine that goes beyond malbec to tell us about the inhospitable cold and desert place it came from.”
94 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“I find the 2016 Primeras Viñas Malbec Gualtallary to be superb, representing the variety, place and vintage faithfully. It’s floral and perfumed, with subtle chalky minerality. It matured in large oak vats for 16 to 18 months. Drink 2018-2023.”
Black and blue within, glowing a purple rim
Insane violet aromas pop from the glass
Crazy minerality arrives just past the beautiful core or luminous red and purple fruits, from blueberry to plum to Bing cherry
Cinnamon and spice fill the back end. Long, long finish, where a perfectly integrated touch of oak adds an alluring vanilla streak
Though traditionally unthinkable without lots of meat, this would make a veggie stew sing too
What the Winery Says
- Juan Roby Stordeur
- 100% Malbec
- Gualtallary, Tupungato
- Angelica, La Piramide, Nicasia, Adrianna & Angélica Sur
- 3,300 - 5,250 feet
- Stony, alluvial, sand, limestone
- Total acidity
- 5.58 g/L
- Residual sugar
- 1.8 g/L
- 16-18 months
- 100% French 4,000 liter oak vats