Wine Reviews: Argentina & Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-27-2019

High-elevation vineyards fascinate me, and, as such, I’ve long been drawn to wines from Argentina. Especially in the Salta region, these vineyards are planted at dizzying heights.

In terms of highest elevation vineyards in the world, that title belongs to Bodega Colomé. The bodega sits at about 7,500 feet, but their highest vineyard (Altura Máxima) is located some 10,000 feet above sea level.

I recently tasted through some impressive wines from this producer, as well as fellow Salta winery Bodega Amalaya. This report also includes a wine from Domaine Bousquet and a serious value-driven Chilean red called Primus.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.


Bodega Colome's Altura Maxima Vineyard. Credit: Bodega Colome.

Colome’s Altura Maxima Vineyard. Credit: Bodega Colome.

2018 Bodega Colomé TorrontésArgentina, Salta
SRP: $15
Light yellow color. Aromas burst with lychee and white peach and pineapple, with tropical flowers, honey, very perfumed. Peachy keen on the palate with bright, sprightly acidity and a creaminess to the texture that adds depth. Lychee, pineapple and honeydew melon mix nicely with a floral perfume and honey combination, finishes with a hint of chalky minerals. I’m not a huge Torrontes fan, but this one is very pretty. (88 points)

2018 Bodega Amalaya Torrontes/Riesling - Argentina, Salta
SRP: $12
Light yellow color. So peachy on the nose with guava, lychee, limes, with yellow flowers and honey. Medium-bodied with racy acidity, a lively and tingling appeal. Peaches and crème mixed with lime, guava, lychee, along with notes of sea salt, chalk, lots of white and yellow flowers. Juicy, tropical, yet racy and vibrant. 85% Torrontes, 15% Riesling. (86 points)

2015 Domaine Bosquet Ameri - Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $36
Bold purple color. Nose shows tart black cherries and saucy plums, wild blackberries, with cocoa, vanilla, cedar, earthy-charcoal notes. On the palate, this is full-bodied with tangy acidity, and the balance is really impressive. Tart black cherries and blueberries, tangy dark fruit, accented well with spicy herbs, cocoa, mint, spiced coffee, an earthy-mineral presence underneath. Ready to drink now, but this is structured to improve for at least a handful of years. 65% Malbec with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, from a single estate vineyard at 4,000 feet elevation. (90 points)

2017 Bodega Amalaya MalbecArgentina, Salta
SRP: $16
Deep purple color. Aromas of tart but deep black currants and cherries, along with violets, graphite, earth, cocoa, black pepper, rocky earth. Full-bodied on the palate with velvety tannins and bright acidity, the balance is impressive. Tart black currants and blackberries, the fruit is accented with graphite, violets, earth, dusty cocoa. Deep, balanced, drinking so well right now but no rush. Really good value going on here. Includes 10% Tannat and 5% Petit Verdot. (89 points)

2016 Bodega Colomé Malbec EstateArgentina, Salta, Calchaquies
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Aromas are dark and tart with blackberry, blueberry, plum, with lots of loamy earth, cocoa, mint and graphite. Tangy acidity frames the wine nicely, balancing the moderate tannins, the balance is on point. Blackberry and tart blueberry, laced with mineral, graphite, earth. So pure and lively, this is showing very well now but I’d like to see it with a few years of age. (90 points)

2017 Bodega Colomé Malbec Auténtico - Argentina, Salta
SRP: $30
Bright purple color. Dark and juicy but tart with blackberries, cassis, deep notes of violets, potpourri, clove, coffee, loamy earth, charcoal, grilled herbs. On the palate, I love the combination of vibrant, crisp acidity with the waves of dark, velvety, tangy black fruit. Complex notes of minerals, graphite, forest floor, violets, anise, black tea. Rich fruit but it’s nuanced and complex, such a pretty expression of Malbec. Accessible now but I’d love to see it in a few years. All Malbec from 100 year old vines, planted about 7,500 feet in elevation, aged in tanks, no oak. (91 points)

2015 Primus The BlendChile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $19
Medium purple color. The nose shows loads of saucy black cherries, black cherries, along with a burst of black pepper, roasted red pepper, green olives, charcoal pit, along with coffee and vanilla notes. Medium/full-bodied with medium, velvety tannins, with moderating acidity, and everything is quite nicely balanced. Juicy yet tangy cassis and blackberry with a complex mix of anise, pepper, black olive, charcoal, and an underlying sense of rocky minerals. Accessible now but has the depth and concentration to improve for at least a few years. Surprisingly complex and balanced for the price. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc. (90 points)

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