97 pts Tim Atkin MW 2021 Argentine Red Wine Discovery of the Year
Igneo is a co-fermented blend of Malbec with 10% Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, made as an expression of ‘the whole vineyard’ in Uspallata, according to Alejandro Sejanovich. It’s a stunning first release, produced with 70% whole clusters and showing amazing lavender and sage aromas, sappy, savoury tannins and layers of white pepper, blackberry and red cherry. 2023-2031.
95 pts Decorchados Jan 2022
A powerful and highly concentrated red with sweet flavors of black fruits and jams amid juicy flavors and sweet spices. The palate is filled with a warm sensation (from the alcohol) and soft touches in this generous red with broad shoulders and a succulent structure. This is a blend of 90% malbec, 7% cabernet franc, and 3% pinot noir fermented with whole clusters and aged in barrels for 18 months. One to make room for in the cellar.
94 pts Vinous Oct 2020
Made with grapes grown 2,000 meters up the mountain in Usapallata, this unusual blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Pinot Noir was micro-fermented with stalks. Violet in the glass. The remarkably fruity nose features juicy cherries and plums followed by an attractive perfume of lavender and violet. Linear and slightly corseted in the mouth; the fine-grained tannins shape the relaxed structure, while the lavender finish lasts at length. A unique wine for Argentina that one might describe as mountain-style. Drink: 2020-2029.
Estancia Uspallata, located 6,560 feet above sea level, is the highest vineyard in all of Mendoza. It is situated in the Quebrado del Minero (Miner’s Canyon), just outside of the town of Uspallata. The estate belongs to the Saud family of Buenos Aires and is part of a massive mountain ranch of almost 100,000 acres. However, as is often the case in these Andean properties, only a tiny fraction is actually usable. In 2008, the Saud family planted a small vineyard of about 10 acres (five acres each of Malbec and of Pinot Noir) on a pronounced north-facing slope.
In 2015, Ariel and Belen Saud approached Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach to partner in the development of the property, taking charge of the viticulture, winemaking, and commercial activities. Under Alejandro’s care, the vineyard has thrived, and one-half acre of Cabernet Franc has been added. The plan is to continue to develop the estate, with small parcels of different grape varieties matched to the tapestry of soil profiles found on the property.
The vineyard is planted on a unique profile of colluvial soils. Shallow, sandy soils are composed of porphyry and limestone. They are ancient volcanic materials that were formed with the birth of the Andes Mountains. Seismic activity over the millennia caused the mountains that form the canyon to crumble, falling over the slope where the vineyard is planted -hence its colluvial nature.