Since 1999, Karim Mussi has been crafting sublime wines in the La Consulta region of the Uco Valley in Argentina. Mussi believes in terroir and seeks to bring out the the distinct nature of the vineyard and it’s original old-vine rootstocks in his finished wines. He has adhered to sustainable farming methods since the winery’s inception, takes a minimalist approach in the cellar and utilizes indigenous yeasts, in 100 year-old concrete vats, during fermentation. Altocedro’s work helped establish the La Consulta region, which was awarded one of the few Argentinean “Geographic Indication” Appellations in 2019. La Consulta vineyards sit as high as 1700m, allowing for plenty of sunlight, limited rainfall (particularly during the growing season) and huge diurnal temperature drops in the evenings to maintain acidity. The wines deliver purity of fruit, varietal character, balancing acidity and, in the case of the reds, silky, but apparent tannic structure. There is a touch of saline minerality on the finish to these that is the hallmark of high-altitude wines.
With its near-dessert conditions, extreme elevation and wide diurnal shift, grape vines have proven to thrive in various regions of Argentina. With plantings dating back to the 1920s, the fruit from Uco Valley was originally used to add colour and acidity to the wines of warmer areas until winemakers in the 1990s saw larger potential for the region. Today, Uco Valley is producing some of the most influential wines of Argentina. The valley, which runs north to south, is 70 KM long and 40 KM at its widest in the south. It is capped by desert conditions, with cold winds blowing in from Patagonia. At its north end, hills reach 1400 metres+. To the east, the region runs into a series of gorges and dry riverbeds.
Sourced from the La Consulta and Chacayes vineyards within Uco Valley. La Consulta, one of the lowest laying vineyards in the valley, sitting at 900 masl, has a slightly lower temperature. Split by the Tunuyan river and sitting in the shadow of the San José volcano, La Consulta benefits from the supply of meltwater coming directly from the peaks of the Andes, as well as from long days full of sunlight. Due to the proximity of the river, the soil is mainly alluvial. The soil—comprised of clay, rocks and sand—is ideal for drainage while forcing the vines to dig deep for nutrients, creating strong roots and concentrated fruit. The Chacayes vineyards, sitting between 101 and 1220 masl, are also comprised of sandy-clay soils and diurnal shifts of up to 25°C. Chacayes was originally pioneered by François Lurton. Thanks to the cooperation of Lurton and the region’s vine growers, Los Chacayes is now branded and recognized as one of the most quality driven regions of Argentina.
66% Semillion and 34% Sauvignon Blanc, a blend most commonly seen in the Bordeaux region of France. The complex and textured Semillion, complemented by the aromatics and acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, creates a unique, delicious wine.
Hand-picked grapes are sorted and de-stemmed before each varietal is fermented separately in neutral French oak barrels. When the wine is ready, it is blended into a combination of new and seasoned French oak, where it spends 14 months on its lees, before being bottled.
The Sauvignon Blanc component comes through on the nose, with tropical notes framed by grassy herbaceousness. The palate is rich and unctuous, with layers of stone fruit, citrus and toasty oak. There is creaminess, but there is also brilliant acidity (likely given by the ample Sauvignon Blanc element) that keeps it from being oily or viscous. Chill lightly and enjoy with pasta in a cream sauce, grilled pork tenderloin or Sole Almandine.