In 1998, santiago achával and fellow Argentinean Manuel Ferrer partnered with Roberto Cipresso and Tiziano Siviero, the proprietors of La Fiorita in Montalcino, Italy, to found Achaval-Ferrer, a wine estate located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and dedicated to producing exceptional small-production red wines based primarily on the Malbec grape. Achaval-Ferrer 2010 Finca Altamira Mendoza (www.achaval-ferrer.com, $145) is sourced from the estate’s most celebrated vineyard, which lies at an elevation of more than 3,400 feet above sea level. The higher elevation increases the vines’ exposure to sunlight during the day, while the river cools the vineyard at night, enriching the fruit’s acidity. The result is a dense Malbec steeped in blackberry and black-plum fruit spiced with hints of sarsaparilla, clove, and cardamom.
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