Altocedro, The Phoenician, 2020
With its near-desert conditions, extreme elevation and wide diurnal shift, grape vines have proven to thrive in various regions of Argentina. With plantings dating back to the 1920s, the fruit from Uco Valley was originally used to add colour and acidity to the wines of warmer areas until winemakers in the 1990s saw larger potential for the region. Today, Uco Valley is producing some of the most influential wines of Argentina. The valley, which runs north to south, is 70 km long and 40 km wide. To the south, the region is capped by desert conditions with cold winds blowing in from Patagonia; to the north, by hills of 1400 metres of elevation and higher. To the east, the region runs into a series of gorges and dry riverbeds.
The Phoenician is a blend of 80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Syrah. Winemaking takes place in concrete tanks with 30% of the wine aged in French oak barrels for 10 months. It has a fresh nose with moderate spices over a core of blackberries. The palate is silky, with blueberry, mineral, shaved chocolate and light espresso character. Full body, integrated tannins and a long finish. Amazing pairing for a juicy T-Bone served with roasted potatoes and red-wine sauce or a roasted shoulder of lamb served with rich, creamy potatoes au gratin.