In 1995 Alberto Antonini, a well-known Tuscan winemaker, and Antonio Morescalchi, a young entrepreneur, took a trip to visit the burgeoning wine areas of South America. It only took one stop to find what they were looking for. They were immediately impressed by the vineyards thriving in the high altitude and dry climate of Mendoza, and were captivated by the whispered traditions and blend of cultures. They returned to Tuscany powerfully impressed not only by the region, but also by the unexplored potential of Malbec, a grape that had a strong local tradition but was largely ignored and misunderstood. While the rest of the wine world saw Mendoza struggling to shed its bulk wine image, the two young Italians saw Mendoza as a place where traditional viticultural values and unblemished land could be reinvigorated with a modern winemaking approach and international experience. Instead of planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as many others were doing during the 1990s, the team decided to invest their confidence in Malbec. Today, Malbec is the varietal for which Argentina is best known. Against all odds they cemented their vision to become Terroir Specialists Shortly after, two friends and business partners, also enthused by the idea, joined the venture: Attilio Pagli, a renowned Tuscan winemaker with two 100 point-scoring wines in his personal record and Carlos Vazquez, an Argentine Agronomist, who work for 20 years with the early Catena group, planting new varieties, developing previously unknown vineyard sites and contributing greatly to the qualitative change of Argentine viticulture early on.
Altos Las Hormigas Clasico Malbec is a blend of 100% Malbec grapes harvested by hand from vineyards in Medrano, Lujan de Cuyo, and the Uco Valley in a smaller percentage. The area has a semi-desert climate with hot days and cool nights. Deep, fresh soils delay ripening, and avoid stress. These are sandy loams where the clay component provides mineral nutrients and water retention, while the sand component prevents the silt and clay part from compacting excessively and guarantees water drainage. An extended ripening season is relied on to give the Malbec its intensity and balanced flavor profile.
Grapes from different vineyards are vinified separately before the final blend. After a careful, double sorting process, the grapes are softly pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express each of the selected vineyard. Fermentation takes place in separate stainless steel tanks for 10 days. The wine is then aged for 12 months in concrete vats.