2016 Gran Reserva La Consulta Mendoza Malbec
Argentina: Mendoza: Uco Valley
Un poco loco
Take what you think you know about great Malbec and toss it out the window.
This will serve as a new anchor for your perspective on the varietal.
You see, Altocedro doesn’t take a normal approach here. To start, they harvest from 70-year-old vines. Not unusual… but then it gets un poco loco. They take the harvested Malbec whole clusters and barrel co-ferment with 4% Semillon in French oak. They let them roll around in barrels for 2 months. Literally, they roll them 8 times a day for 60+ days, taking only the remaining free run to ferment. 50 barrels go in, 8 barrels worth of wine come out. That’s not ‘low yields’ but almost no yields!
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous nails the hype with “I first visited Altocedro in 2004, the year that owner Karim Mussi began his project. Since then I have watched the winery grow as it focuses on producing wines from its own vineyards in La Consulta, with an emphasis on elegance above all else. Obsessive about quality, the self-described “Phoenician” brings his inimitable sense of fun to everything he does. Altocedro Gran Reserva is one of the great local wines.”
There’s a glass on the desk now, and WOW, you haven’t smelled anything this surprisingly intense since that first whiff of a Mr. Sketch marker in fourth grade - you know, the orange creamcicle one. Unlike that artificial, chemical-y freeze pop type scent, that kills brain cells. This wine will for sure activate the olfactory bulb in your limbic system and freeze-frame a snapshot of your life when you first sniff it. As noted in the review, it’s not as concentrated or extracted as some others, but still retains a “contained ripeness” and a friendly 13.9% alcohol.
Black and blue, with purple and crimson peeking through the virtual opaqueness. A core of crushed red and blackberries, violets, and floral notes, vanilla, and a hint of roasted coffee define the aromatics that invite. Elegant, with lively acidity supporting raspberry, red plum, and currant flavors zigzag once sipped as fresh minerality emerges, leading to a vibrant finish that lingers with slate and white pepper. Look no further than a traditional Argentine Parrillada covering a variety of meats, veggies, and chimichurri!
Beyond being a phenomenal bargain, this is a world-class collectible as well. Wine Enthusiast picked this Gran Reserva for “A Guide to Investing in Malbec” with “aspirations to rub elbows with the global winemaking elite” as a varietal that poses “an enticing opportunity for wine investors, still available at reasonable prices, many of these wines are improving their scores year over year and demand and value are rising accordingly. Made in small batches from elite vineyards that focus on regional expression, many of these Malbecs can be enjoyed today or kept for several years when their scarcity will drive up the price.”
At the $55 release price, it was an eye-opening value. At $29 today, it’s an eye-popping steal. Get in on one of South America’s biggest secrets - before it’s too late…
93 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2016 Malbec Gran Reserva fermented in closed barrels with some three to four percent Sémillon in search of an elegant and less concentrated Malbec. The wine also matured in these French oak barrels (always from Mercurey for this specific wine) for 18 months, shorter than ever before, as it’s usually 24 months. 2016 was a very rainy year, when phenolic ripeness was reached very early, so the wine has a lighter profile and a fresh and floral nose, with a lot less impact from the oak than I expected. It has an exuberant and showy nose of sweet and oriental spices, very floral with cracked peppercorns. It has a medium body and less concentration than the Reserva, with nicely integrated oak—a great change from previous vintages—and very contained ripeness. Maybe this is a one-off because of the unusual vintage. The palate is polished with fine tannins and a lot less alcohol (13.9% versus 15.5% in 2012). I love it! The first vintage for this bottling was 2007. Drink 2018-2026.”
Black and blue, with purple and crimson peeking through the virtual opaqueness
A core of crushed red and blackberries, violets, and floral notes, vanilla, and a hint of roasted coffee
Elegant, with lively acidity supporting raspberry, red plum, and currant flavors
Fresh minerality emerges, leading to a vibrant finish that lingers with slate and white pepper
Traditional Argentine Parrillada covering a variety of meats, veggies, and chimichurri
What the Winery Says
- Karim Mussi Saffie
- 97% Malbec, 3% Semillon
- La Consulta, Valle de Uco, Mendoza
- Alluvial, sandy loam, rocky base
- Age of vineyard
- 107 years
- 3,000 plants per acre
- 1.0 kg per plant
- 3,444 feet
- Total acidity
- 5.2 g/L
- Residual sugar
- 24 months
- 100% new Burgundian oak
- 9 barrels