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Finca Suarez, Malbec de Parcela 2017
Highly terroir-specific on the nose with wafts of almond, lavender, dried flowers and a deep, cool black fruit compote. The concentration, texture and balance in the wine are sublime. Pair with a rich steak dish.
Coming from small organically farmed plots where rigorous selection processes before fermentation in concrete vats with indigenous yeast. The wine is allowed to go through full malolactic and aged in French Oak for 12 months, 10% of which is new.
The Suarez family connection with Paraje Altamira goes way back. Juanfa Suarez' great grandfather, Leopoldo, bought the finca in 1920 and established an experimental winery for varietal micro-vinifications. He found that his wines lacked natural acidity (probably as a result of his interpretation of ripeness as much as anything) and he chose not to plant widely, but he did see the huge potential of the Uco Valley and its calcareous soils way back then.
Leopoldo's son started planting in earnest in the 1960s and made good quality bulk wine for the domestic market, but the economic crisis that ensued commoditised wine in a way that made it commercially non-viable and he was forced to plant apples, pears and other fruits instead.
The finca stayed in family hands and Juanfa's father finally returned the land to vines in the 1990s, initially just to sell the grapes. Today, most of the fruit (around 80%) is sold to other producers and Juanfa uses his best plots to make his own wines. His first vintage was 2013 and in a short space of time his wines have emerged as being really rather special. Adjacent to the finca you will see Zuccardi's spectacular new winery, situated in the very same special terroir. Juanfa's operation is somewhat more 'simple' by contrast. That's just how they like it.
The Gran Malbec was renamed to 2017 Malbec de Parcela, as it's produced from the same stony plot in the estate vineyards. It fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months. It has an expressive nose redolent of yerba mate, the tea they drink obsessively in Argentina. The wine is intensely herbal and fresh, with integrated spice and smoke from the elevage, and it has an explosive palate full of violets and wild herbs. It's very tasty and balanced and has the textbook chalky tannins, finishing with a salty touch. 3,330 bottles were filled in August 2018. 92 points