Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the first officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.
This new wine is a blend of the three traditional Mendoza grapes, widely planted and blended before varietally labelled wines came into fashion. While Malbec and Bonarda continue to be the two most planted varieties in Mendoza, Semillon has fallen out of favour, with only 728 hectares left in 2017. In spite of this, winemaker Alberto Antonini believes Semillon is the most suitable white varietal for Mendoza, as it retains its natural acidity in the dry, sunny climate. Grapes for this wine come mainly from vineyards in Luján de Cuyo, with a small percentage coming from Medrano. The region has a semi-desert climate with hot days and cool nights. Soils in Luján de Cuyo have good water drainage and a fine silt-sandy texture. In soils such as these, vines put down deep roots, helping them resist heat waves, which are common during the summer in Mendoza. All work done in the vineyard was conducted according to biodynamic principles.
The complete blend therefore is an unusual 48% Bonarda, 45% Malbec and 7% of the white grape, Semillon. It's a fresher take on Argentine reds and a real joy to drink.