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.
La Consulta is one of the lowest laying and coolest vineyards in the Uco Valley, sitting at 900 masl. Split by the Tunuyan river and sitting in the shadow of the San José volcano, the area benefits from the supply of meltwater coming directly from the peaks of the Andes, as well as from long days full of sunlight. The soil is mainly alluvial, comprised of clay, rocks and sand, ideal for drainage while forcing the vines to dig deep for nutrients thereby creating strong roots and concentrated fruit Vines range in age from 4 to 49 years and have been grown on a trellising system of high vertical shoot positioning and pergola.
Malbec—a thick-skinned, full-bodied grape—has made its home in the foothills of the Andes. Owning more than 75% of the world’s planted Malbec, Argentina is known for having reinvigorated this variety, which has been returned to the list of the top 18 noble grapes.
100% Malbec, from vineyards sitting at almost 4000 ft. Hand-harvested and hand-sorted, the wine is spontaneously fermented using indigenous yeasts in small concrete tanks. A portion of the wine is aged in French oak, then blended with the concrete-aged wine before bottling.
An explosive nose of red and black berry fruit, with an undertone of mocha. On the palate, this a fresher and brighter expression of Malbec than many. While still carrying characteristic weight, there is a much more lifted palate with good acidity that is missing from many Argie Malbecs. The berry flavours come through in the mouth, but they are more blackberry and blueberry than red, along with anise. Wonderful to sip alone on a cold evening, this is also the perfect burger wine.