Alamos Wines : A Taste of Argentina

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By Nancy Walman

We LOVE the wines of Argentina and Alamos offers some of the best. A Major Wine On Line Rating

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The Catena family in Mendoza, Argentina, began making Alamos in 1993 to help meet rising demand around the world for Argentine wines. Luxury winemaking techniques are used at every step, although the wines remain attractively priced throughout the United States.

Grapes for Alamos wines are grown in Catena’s high-altitude (3,000 -5,000 ft.) estate vineyards, as well as by local independent growers who have long-standing relationships with the family.

The vineyards for Alamos wines, located in the prestigious Mendoza growing regions of Lujan de Cuyo, the Uco Valley, and around Cafayate in Salta to the north, are cared for and harvested by hand. Crop loads are kept low to ensure quality and to allow the vines to concentrate flavors in the grapes. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec wines are blended, by co-fermentation and assemblage, with ‘companion’ grapes to add dimension and unmistakable character. The result is rich and concentrated wines with distinctive depth and balance.

The Catena family, who began making wines in Mendoza more than 100 years ago, bring very modern ideas to traditional winemaking techniques. Alamos wines reflect four generations of investment to improve wine quality both in the vineyards and in winemaking. This includes decades of research and experimentation with clonal selections best suited to the unique high desert terroir, and application of “precision agriculture” which responds to microclimate variations.

Each batch of grapes is sorted by hand at the winery, and only the best pass through inspection for fermentation.

Alamos wines are a classic example of the Catena family belief that blending is the highest art of winemaking. Vineyards at different altitudes produce different characteristics in the wines and give Alamos winemakers a wide range of options in the final assembly.

According to Alamos U.S. representative Jimena Turner, “Alamos is one of the best values in New World wines. The wines are made with grape growing, harvesting, and winemaking techniques usually reserved for luxury wines and this represents a tremendous value to consumers.”

Alamos has earned its position as America’s favorite Argentine brand of wine by offering both quality and value in a true “wine of the Andes.”

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2008 Alamos Torrontés

This Alamos wine comes from high altitude vineyards in the Salta wine region of northwestern Argentina. The wine represents the highest levels of the art of blending, using grapes from many distinct microclimates. Alamos wines are blended to create flavorful, drinkable wines that preserve each variety’s distinctive flavors, aromas, and textures.

Wine Description:

Torrontés is the unique, fragrant white wine of Argentina, cultivated there since the days of the Conquistadors. Alamos Torrontés captures all of the aromatic characteristics of this Argentine grape, with lively notes of citrus and peach fruit interwoven with delicate layers of jasmine blossom and fresh herbs. The wine is light and fresh on the palate with excellent balance, finishing with bright, crisp acidity.

Harvest Notes:

Grapes for this wine came from vineyards in the high valleys of Cafayate in the Salta region 500 miles north of Mendoza. The winter of 2008 was the coldest in 40 years, and the vineyards got off to a late start. The rest of the season was warm and dry – a long period of very sunny days that drove development of great flavors, and very cold nights that let the vines rest and reach full maturity. Since an early frost had thinned the crop, the result was wine of great intensity and full flavors. The grapes were harvested on March 1, 2008.

Winemaking Notes: Felipe Stahlschmidt, Winemaker

The wine was cold fermented at a temperature of only 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Oak aging was avoided, to preserve the fresh, delicate flavors of the wine.

Appellation : Cafayate, Argentina

Varietal Content: 100 % Torrontés

Alcohol Content: 13.0%

Acidity: 5.70

pH: 3.36

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2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon

This Alamos wine comes from high altitude vineyards in the Mendoza wine region of western Argentina. The wine represents the highest levels of the art of blending, using grapes from many distinct microclimates. Alamos wines are blended to create flavorful, drinkable wines that preserve each variety’s distinctive flavors, aromas, and textures.

Wine Description:

The 2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon presents a dark purple color with garnet tones. The nose is explosive, with red fruit flavors, sweet spice and a touch of fresh mint. The mouthfeel is full yet soft, with red currant and cassis fruit layered with notes of cigar box, leather and ripe black fruits. The finish is focused, with finely grained tannins adding structure and length.

Harvest Notes:

The 2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes from the Uco Valley, and from Luján de Cuyo in the “prime zone” south of the city of Mendoza. The winter of 2008 was the coldest in 40 years, and the vineyards got off to a late start in a cool, wet springtime. The rest of the season was warm and dry– a long period of very sunny days that drove development of great flavors, and very cold nights that let the vines rest and reach full maturity. Since an early frost had thinned the crop, the result was wine of great intensity and soft tannins.

Winemaking Notes: Felipe Stahlschmidt, Winemaker

The wine was fermented for seven days at just less than 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and stayed on the skins for flavor extraction for 15 days. Some Malbec and Cabernet Franc were added to the final blend to give additional breadth and complexity. The wine was conditioned using a combination of French and American oak.

Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina

Varietal Content: 85 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 % Malbec 5 % Cabernet Franc

Alcohol: 13.5 %

Acidity: 5.20

pH: 3.72

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2008 Alamos Malbec

This Alamos wine comes from high-altitude vineyards in the Mendoza wine region of western Argentina. The wine represents the highest levels of the art of blending, using grapes from many distinct microclimates. Alamos wines are blended to create flavorful, drinkable wines that preserve each variety’s distinctive flavors, aromas, and textures.

Wine Description:

Malbec is the “signature wine” of the Mendoza region and represents the highest achievements of Argentine winemaking. The 2008 Alamos Malbec has a dark, blackish purple color. The nose shows ripe black fruits, black pepper spice and floral notes. The mouthfeel is full yet soft and supple, with black raspberry and currant flavors mingled with notes of sweet spice and a touch of leather. The finish is long and persistent with soft, sweet tannins.

Harvest Notes:

Grapes for this wine came from vineyards in the Uco Valley, and from the Luján de Cuyo area of the “prime zone” south of the city of Mendoza. The winter of 2008 was the coldest in 40 years, and the vineyards got off to a late start in a cool, wet springtime. The rest of the season was warm and dry– a long period of very sunny days that drove development of great flavors, and very cold nights that let the vines rest and reach full maturity. Since an early frost had thinned the crop, the result was wine of great intensity and soft tannins.

Winemaking Notes: Felipe Stahlschmidt, Winemaker

This Malbec was fermented for 14 days at a temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit and allowed to sit on its skins for another 23 days to completely extract flavor and color from the fruit. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon along with Bonarda, another distinctive red grape characteristic of Argentine wines, was blended into the final wine. The wine was conditioned partly with French oak, partly with American oak before the final blend was assembled.

Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina

Varietal Content: 90 % Malbec , 5 % Cabernet Sauvignon

5 % Bonarda

Alcohol Content: 13.5 %

Acidity: 5.28

pH: 3.79

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