Argentina has for a long time been the fifth largest wine producing country in the world, yet largely unknown to American wine connoisseurs until a decade ago. We source our Argentinean wines from an international pool of winemaking talents who have been drawn to the country by its exceptional luminosity; its dry, low-nutrient high-mineral soil; its salutary swings of day- and night-time temperatures; and the high elevation of most of the vineyards at the foot of the Andes. Above all, we are thrilled by the potential of old, ungrafted Malbec, Bonarda and Torrontes vines.
Celebrated California winemaker Patrick Campbell, (formerly the owner/winemaker of Laurel Glen) started producing wines in South America to join with wines he has been making in the Lodi area of California forming a multi-national brand he now calls, Tierra Divina. After nearly a decade of cultivating relationships with growers in Chile and Argentina, Patrick became convinced that the prime potential for superb wine values lay in purchasing his own vineyards in Mendoza and concentrating on Malbec. He sees this project as strikingly parallel with his stewardship of old vines in California for his “Reds” and “ZaZin” labels. “While Italian immigrants were planting out Zinfandel in their Lodi vineyards in the late 1800s, “says Patrick “a second wave of pioneers from Italy was laying out Malbec vineyards in the gravelly, rocky soils at the base of the mighty Andes in Mendoza. They engineered the complex system of canals that even today direct snow melt to the sparse soils. Hundreds of hectares of close-planted, high altitude, and decades-old Malbec vineyards yield small tonnages of intensely flavored and exotically perfumed wines”
In 1995, a team of Italian wine professionals began a project called Altos Las Hormigas to produce wines that express fully the unique dynamics of the Malbec grape in the terroirs of Mendoza . Alberto Antonini, a well-known Tuscan wine maker, and Antonio Morescalchi were joined by world renowned oenologist Attilio Pagli, “super-broker” Marco de Grazia, management counselor Alan Scerbanenko, and last, but not least, by Antonio Terni, an Italo-Argentine, known for his top quality wines in the Marche region of Italy, as well as his boundless enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, all things related to South American viticulture (and the music of Bob Dylan). Native Mendozan Carlos Vazquez, long-time vineyard manager for Cateña, later joined the otherwise Italianate cast at Altos las Hormigas. In addition to multi-tiered Malbec offerings, the team produces a wine from the infectious and relatively little-known grape Bonarda.
John Larchet of The Australian Premium Wine Collection expanded his import operation in late 2010 to include wines from around the world, an entity he calls, World Wine HeadQuarters (WWHQ). His focus in South America has been on Argentina particularly sourcing old vine wines from the Uco Valley (Mendoza), La Salta and La Rioja. He offers wines from various producers who combine great winemaking traditions with a fresh and modern approach to grape growing and winemaking that are premium quality and value-priced, particularly an extraordinary white wine from the grape Torrontes and sourced from 80 year old vines grown at 1000 meter elevation (3250 ft.).