Altus de Gualallary Grand Vin 2000

With this wine you start with a quick huff of New World grapey goodness, but it quickly settles down into something with a bit more gravitas. The fairly richly scented, ripe Malbec fruit seems to have some good oak behind it, but not too much; this wine (surprisingly to me, given the name) seems to have avoided over-oaking in favor of something, well, more Spanish in style.Acidity is fine and frankly delightful, stealing center stage from the fruit, which is decidedly in the summer red berries stage here, strongly reminiscent of a fresh raspberry tart. Not decidedly complex at all, it seems much younger than it actually is, with barely a hint of aged character. It’s only towards the finish that – again – it seems briefly Serious Wine, but again not very much. Then again, thinking about it a bit more, the tannins are substantial but unobstrusive; they seem to have aged to the point where they’re just playing a supporting role here; this is why this wine seems a bit of a lightweight. But is it? I don’t know. Is it delicious? Yes, but shouldn’t I be expecting some heavy barrel toast and puckery tannins? Is it OK to like a good wine just because it’s summery and delicate?I can’t make my mind up about this wine at all. One moment it seems a trifle, the next an elegant, restrained wine in the Bordelais style that is way too sophisticated to be drunk with the food that’s on my table. This one’s an odd duck: probably not Serious enough to please folks who are expecting a massive bruiser of an Argentine malbec in the style of Clos de Los Siete and Michel Rolland, and way, way too sophisticated to be mistaken for your average supermarket quaffer labeled Los Gauchos del Sur (or whatever they call cheap Argentine Malbec where you live).I’ve decided it’s pretty damn good.Note: We bought this at the winery on vacation a couple of years ago; if you’re in the neighborhood (the Tupungato valley), the restaurant is absolutely worth a visit – that lunch in the vineyard was perhaps the best meal we had outside of Buenos Aires.Oh, and lest I forget: the enc├ępagement is not listed on their Web site or on the bottle, so my guess of Malbec is just that: a guess. Apologies if I guessed wrong!Altus
Price: Can’t remember, probably around $25
Closure: Cork

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