2013 Bodega Colome Altura Maxima Malbec, Cafayate, Argentina (750ml)
The true expression of terroir in this Malbec comes from the extreme altitude at which the vineyard sits, it receives much more sun, much less UV protection, producing thicker skinned grapes that deliver a more robust mouthfeel supported by fresh acidity.
I was really looking forward to tasting the 2013 Altura Máxima Malbec, as I was blown away by the inaugural 2012, previewed this 2013 one month before bottling and I hadn't had the chance to encounter the wine since my visit to the vineyard some 16 months ago. 2013 was slightly a wetter year (210 liters versus the average 125) and the temperatures were milder, so it provided for fruit-driven wines with good acidity and firm tannin. The nose is so spicy and meaty that the best word to describe the first impression is like going into a "salumeria" in Italy, the shops where they sell their delicious "salames." Smelling it just made me hungry, with plenty of savory notes that reminded me of concentrated yeast extract (Marmite or Bovril), terribly spicy and pungent. The vines were planted in 2007, and in 2013 they harvested the grapes slightly earlier than in 2012. The yields are naturally low, as the vines are still finding their balance. The vinification is soft but long, and so is the élevage, extended to two years in well-seasoned neutral barriques. This is really rich and heady, developing layers and layers of aromas and especially a superb texture and a tactile sensation that reminded me of velvet. Floral, with plenty of wild herbs that transported me to the place, this is one of the most distinct and unique Malbecs from Argentina. The Malbec that dreams are made of! I cannot even think what this wine could be like when the vines mature... 6,900 bottles were filled in August 2015 after two years in fourth use French oak barriques.
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 pts.
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