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The wines of Alta Vista, Mendoza, Argentina

Alta Vista, Alzaga 3972, Lujan de Cuyo, M5528AJK, Mendoza, Argentina
Phone: 00 54 261 496 4684 Fax: 00 54 261 496 4683
E-mail: jean-christophe.meyrou@altavistawines.com

A relatively big operation with 7 ha of old Malbec vines in La Compuertas, 90 ha in Agrelo and a further 250 ha planted in Vista Flores at the foot of the Andes. The quality is very good across the board, and the Premium and Grand Reserve Malbecs, made from old vines, are both worth seeking out. Flagship wine Alto is very good in a modern mould, but is a little pricey at £25 a shot. Generally, though, these are wines that show some old world restraint, which is usually a good thing. UK agent is Lay & Wheeler (www.laywheeler.com); prices indicated are theirs.  

I've reviewed these wines twice. The first set of notes are from October 2004, and below these are notes from 2002.

Alta Vista Torrontés 2004 Mendoza, Argentina
Overtly perfumed floral nose is grapey and pretty. Rich, pretty palate with a slight herbal tinge to the rich-textured fruit. Very good+ 87/100 (£6.45)

Alta Vista Chardonnay 2003 Mendoza, Argentina
Fruity, fresh and slightly herbal with very little oak influence. Nice. Very good+ 86/100 (£7.25)

Alta Vista Bonarda Premium 2002 Mendoza, Argentina
Rich, appealing savoury spicy berry fruit nose. Nice dense, vividly fruited spicy palate. Lots of nice savoury fruit here. Very good+ 88/100 (£6.45)

Alta Vista Malbec Premium 2002 Mendoza, Argentina
Nicely dense, chewy, savouy/spicy black fruits dominate. Minerally, spicy finish is appealing. Delicious wine with lots of character. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.45)

Alta Vista Malbec Reserva 2002 Mendoza, Argentina
Dense, liqouricey berry fruit nose leads to lovely dense, chewy spicy palate. Delicious richness of fruit. Not overdone. Rich, spicy structure. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£10.95)

Alta Vista Alto 1998 Mendoza, Argentina
Impressive taut, dark fruits nose. The palate is concentrated, taut and spicy with a nice herbal complexity to the structured dark fruits. Some elegance too, despite the size. Serious stuff. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£24.95)

From October 2002...

Alta Vista Torrontes Premium 2001
Quite a nice old-world style. Dense herbal nose is not overly aromatic and floral, as some examples of this grape can be. The palate is midweight with interesting texture and a soft finish. Nicely balanced. Very good (£6.25)

Alta Vista Cosecha (Torrontes/Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc) 2001
Green/yellow colour. The striking herby/smoky nose leads to a  palate which shows taut herbal fruit with lots of character. Very good+ (£4.95)

Alta Vista Chardonnay Premium 2001
30% of this was fermented in oak barrels. Distinctive herby nutty nose. The palate has a rich texture of vivid, nutty fruit. Good concentration and not too oaky. Very good+ (£6.95)

Alta Vista Cosecha (Malbec/Tempranillo) 2000
80% Malbec with 20% Tempranillo. Quite a restrained style. Pronounced herby, leafy nose leads to a midweight palate with subtle, savoury herb-tinged fruit. Nicely poised almost old-world style. Very good (£4.95)

Alta Vista Malbec Premium 1999
From a 35 year old vineyard; 30% is aged in American oak. Chocolatey, spicy edge to the herby fruit on the nose: quite classy, showing some restraint. Nice weight on the juicy palate which displays savoury spicy berry fruit. Nice balance and quite old world in style. Very good+ (£6.95)

Alta Vista Malbec Grand Réserve 2000
From a 45 year old vineyard; 80% is matured in new French oak for 12 months. Intense herbal nose with complex chocolatey, herbal notes, together with blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. The palate is chunky and chewy with firm tannins and dense fruit. The well judged oak sits under the fruit. A lovely wine. Very good/excellent (£9.95)

Alta Vista Alto 1999
80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Vine age is 70 years; matured in new French oak for 18 months; 10 000 bottles produced. Lovely intense nose shows sweet liquoricey fruit with lush spicy oak, but it’s not a fruit bomb and shows balance despite the size. On the palate there is chocolatey, herby complexity to the ripe, sweet fruit. The oak is quite dominant, but it is classy and quite well judged, and along with the high acidity, makes this one for the future. Very good/excellent (£29.95)

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wines tasted September 2002