Finca Altamira: World Malbec Day and Easter Sunday
The Argento winery makes a single-vineyard premium Malbec called Finca Altamira, which is also one of the best value red wines you’ll currently find.
Meanwhile, when compiling the list of International Drinks Days, I saw that the annual World Malbec Day is on the 17th of April. And that got me thinking about an appropriate Malbec to celebrate this day.
I enjoy those Malbecs that grow in its French homeland and those from Italy and New Zealand, but there’s no doubt that Argentina has transformed the fortunes of this grape variety. Indeed Malbec has become Argentina’s signature red grape variety and a modern classic.
Previously, Argento has been a feature in these pages, with Artesano, a Malbec/Cabernet Franc blend. Hence details on the winery and terroir are given there.
Finca Altamira, World Malbec Day and Easter Sunday
World Malbec Day falls on a Sunday this year, perhaps the perfect day given that the affinity between Malbec and Beef is now legendary.
Not only that, but this particular day is no less than Easter Sunday 2022. Families will be gathering around the dining table at home, while the pubs and restaurants will be packed with diners. As a result, demand for Roast Beef with all the trimmings will be sky-high. How serendipitous is that?
Additionally, the next time Easter Sunday meets World Malbec Day will be on 17 April 2033, so make the most of this one!
Argento, Finca Altamira, single-vineyard Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 2019. 14.5%.
Finca Altamira is a 22.5-hectare single-vineyard dedicated to Malbec. It’s in the heart of the Uco Valley, one of Mendoza’s prime sites, and a big one too! Before planting it in 2012, Argento researched soil types, matching those to specific clones and rootstocks. Hence the vineyard divides into different blocks accordingly.
Argento has also been converting its vineyards to organic farming rapidly. However, Finca Altamira has been certified organic from the outset, naturally irrigated by snowmelt in this near-desert.
This land is also where the high altitude is one of the most significant quality factors. Finca Altamira is Argento’s highest property, being nearly 1,100 metres up. It brings cooler conditions, breezes, diurnal variation, and UV radiation, all mean the grapes retain juicy acidity and develop complexity through long slow ripening.
In the winery, these grapes ferment in stainless steel tanks. 75% of it then matures in large (5,000 litres) wooden casks for ten months. The remaining 25% develops in egg-shaped concrete vessels. This shape and material allow the wine to retain its fruit character and softens the tannins without imparting additional wood flavours and more tannins.
The wine is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans as there are no animal products in the winemaking process. Bottling is under a high-quality Diam 10 cork, which points to the potential longevity of the wine, as the cork is guaranteed not to fail for ten years.
A vivacious purple-red, there are typical Malbec aromas to explore. Blackcurrant, blackberry and black cherry are all present. In my experience, great Malbec has a scent of Parma violets, and that’s there too. It’s still a young and primarily a fruity wine on the palate, so you’ll find those fruit flavours reprised along with a darker, plummier note.
However, there’s also some welcome complexity from a herbal/medicinal tang that adds intrigue before giving way to a long mineral finish. It has good balance, too, and plenty of juicy acidity stops it from becoming tiring and keeps those intense fruit flavours fresh. Tannins are present, but all smoothed off, while the potent alcohol is well hidden, only showing a little warmth on the dry finish.
So we know how good Malbec is with Beef, and many will release their inner Fray Bentos with this wine. Venison is also an excellent meaty match.
But given this is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly wine, it’s also worth stating that this Malbec is excellent with mushroom dishes and roasted or grilled vegetables. If the weather is kind, stick some sweetcorn on the barbie.
Meanwhile, this bottle was a great match with a simple homemade veggie dish; Potato, broad bean and tomato stew. The secret weapon with this is adding a pinch of middle-eastern Za’atar spice.
Price and UK Stockists
A recommendation for Finca Altamira is mandatory. While this 2019 vintage is still young, it’s ready to drink. Doubtless, most bottles will be opened this year, even if not on World Malbec Day itself.
However, I will put one away to celebrate World Malbec Day on Easter Sunday, 2033. It should make it ok, and I hope to be there too!
Juan de la Cruz Videla
S/N Cruz de Piedra