96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2021
One of the great Malbecs of Argentina, this comes from a 13-year-old vineyard at 1,900 metres in Uspallata, which is fast establishing itself as a truly great site for the variety. Floral, peppery and intense, with notes of dill and wild thyme, herbal intensity, grippy plum and red berry fruit and granular tannins. 2023-31.
95 pts Wine Advocate March 2021
The 2018 Malbec shows the floral and cool expression of Malbec in the high-altitude vineyards of Tunuyán, but it’s from a different place than most of the wines from the zone, as Uspallata is far away from the rest of the vineyards, on the way to Chile at a higher altitude. The fermentation was with 70% full clusters, and the wine matured in 500-liter oak barrels for 15 months. It has an intense color and an intense nose, with fully developed flavors and aromas but with a restrained 13.5% alcohol and notable freshness. It has concentration and ripeness but with elegance and balance. It has a medium-bodied palate, focused and clean flavors and a remarkable finish. 5,000 bottles produced. Drink: 2021-2027.
94 pts James Suckling April 2020
This is an elegant, refined red with outstanding balance and polished tannin structure. Beautiful crushed stones and pencil lead turn to reserved fruit character with some spicy, peppery nuances. Long finish. Needs time to come completely together. Try after 2022.
93 pts Vinous Oct 2020
A Malbec grown at 2,000 meters in the heart of the Mendoza foothills, fermented with stalks and aged in used barrels, resulting in an explosive,
elemental combination of fresh plum, sour cherry, red currant, herbs and stalk. Both concentrated and light on its feet, it has a freshness that balances the ripeness to create unusually intense flavors, as though each descriptor arrived on the tongue with a letter of introduction. A characterful, high-altitude red.
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 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.