By now you are aware of my passion for certain varietals grown on limestone; Malbec being one of them. You may also recall when I noted the discovery of rare limestone deposits by world renown geologist-soil and terroir specialist Pedro Parra in the Gualtallary of the Valle de Uco in Mendoza for Alto Hormigas in the early 2000s?
Most Mendoza vineyards are planted in sandy loam, clay and alluvial soils; and with good vineyard management practices, the resulting Malbec wine is ripe with dark blue and black fruits and a tannic structure requiring a high percentage of new oak to help absorb the youthful astringency. The wines have depth, but also a common “sameness”, a lack of dimension and any terroir/mineral complexity. Typically, the wines are bolstered or supplemented with a heavy dose of new French and American oak for these shortcomings.
The Gualtallary reaches an elevation of almost 4500 feet which makes it one of the highest and coolest (diurnal) growing sites in the Mendoza foothills of the Andes. The Malbec being produced strictly from Gualtallary’s fractured limestone substrata have proven to be exemplary wines for greater concentration, harmonious balance, refinement and finesse, while expressing distinctive minerality. The fermented juice needs to be handled with great care not to obscure these nuances, thus the wine is aged for less time in larger neutral or used oak cask. The tried and true results from Lagarde and Alto Hormigas have spawned vineyard investments where these sources of limestone have been identified. It is a true gold-limestone rush with spiraling prices on the rise. Expect these special wines to do exactly the same!
I am very fortunate to have secured about 150 bottles of Bodega Lagarde’s debut release of 2015 Primeras Viñas Malbec Gualtallary. More than half of this amount has already been sold. My radar is up anytime I see or hear “Gualtallary”, and thus I found this gem at a special Spanish/South America import tasting in San Francisco a few weeks ago. DON’T MISS IT!
I completely concur with Luis Gutierrez’s 94 point rating and review in Wine Advocate from 30 months ago (see below). But I need to emphasize how this Malbec is so finely tuned and styled, graceful, and elegant. Don’t be dismissive if you have never found the magic in this Bordeaux varietal. This wine is total class! Honestly, with great farming, and masterful winemaking, this Malbec is absolute proof of the virtues found in Gualtallary’s limestone..
A small amount of this wine has finally come to market! SHOULD BE $55 a bottle! MY PRICE FOR NOW IS $46.95!!
All manual harvesting. Hand selection of clusters and sorting of grapes. Cold maceration for 3 days. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The total maceration time is 20 to 25 days. Aged 16 months in one 4,000 liter used French oak cask. Alcohol 13.9%.
“There is a new Malbec from the Primeras Viñas range, the 2015 Primeras Viñas Malbec Gualtallary, showcasing the floral and perfumed personality and the subtle minerality from this place in Valle de Uco where these vines were planted ungrafted in 2006-2007. This has a pinch of Petit Verdot that is really unnoticeable. This aged exclusively in one 4,000-liter oak vat, which respected the wine and is not noticeable at all. This is simply superb. 5,200 bottles produced. Lagarde is extending its range with more wines from the Valle de Uco, but he majority of wines from their new vineyard in Gualtallary are still to come.” – 94 points, Wine Advocate (LG) – Dec 2016