The Uco Valley is definitely having its moment in Argentina. The subregion of Mendoza is considered one of the very best spots to grow grapes in all of Argentina with limited production, sustainable growing practices and unbeatable vineyard locations. These are the ‘Valle de Uco’ calling cards. But as most wine folks will tell you, this region is just heating up.
Led by a handful of major players, international critics and consumers are both seeing something special developing. Master of Wine, Tim Akin said that the Uco Valley was once considered, “too far” away from the cluster of wineries in Mendoza but is now “being talked about as the new Napa Valley” with vineyard plots being auctioned off starting at a hefty $150,000 per hectare.
Tim Akin says, “the spiraling price of land is directly related to the quality of the area’s wines. In a short space of time, the Uco Valley has become the most exciting wine region in Argentina and one of the most talked about in the Southern Hemisphere”. I told you it’s heating up!
One of the top spots in the area belongs to Altocedro and their superstar winemaker Karim Mussi. Mussi consults with nearly a dozen wineries mainly thanks to his work at Altocedro over the last decade. They’ve gotten a cult-type following in Argentina, mainly pushing the envelope beyond simply Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and instead opting for sophisticated Red Blends with tons of expression, depth and age-worthiness.
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92 Points, James Suckling
Aromas of black plums, baked blueberries, stewed cherries, vanilla, cocoa butter and sandalwood. It’s full-bodied with creamy tannins. Rich, bold and intense. Hint of chocolate at the finish. Drink or hold
92 Points, Tasting Panel
We were wowed by this blend of 40% Malbec, 19% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Tempranillo, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot grown on vineyards at 3,330 feet above sea level and aged eight months in (70% new) French oak barrels. Graphite and espresso notes are drying at first, but the palate then opens up like a wide double door, leading to velvety notes of big, bold, and tarry fruit. Blackberry preserves peek through black walnut and plum tannins.
91+ Points, Parker’s Wine Advocate
The 2018 La Consulta Select is a co-fermentation of 37% Malbec, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 10% Tempranillo and 5% Syrah, all aged in second and third use French oak barrels for 12 months. It’s floral and harmonious, complex and nuanced, with nice integration of the different varieties and the wine with the oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins and a balanced palate with nice texture and a chalky mouthfeel.
91 Points, Stephen Tanzer – Vinous
“Bright ruby-red. Aromas of black cherry, spices, menthol and crushed rock are complicated by a honey nuance. At once dense and juicy, with youthful flavors of black fruits, spices and flowers offering a captivating restrained sweetness. Finishes with sneaky rising length and nicely supported dusty tannins. I suspect this well-balanced wine will gain in complexity and length with a couple more years of bottle age. Incendally, this is the only one of these three Karim Mussi wines that saw some new oak, in this case 20% with the rest second-use barrels.”
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