2020 Altocedro 'Año Cero' Cabernet Sauvignon, La Consulta, Uco Valley, Argentina
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Altocedro was founded in 1999 by third-generation Lebanese immigrant Karim Mussi. Altocedro means “tall cedar” and is a nod to Karim’s Lebanese/Argentine heritage. Cedar trees are considered sacred in the Lebanese culture, and a grove of cedars surrounds the winery and estate vineyard. Karim and his family were among the ﬁrst champions of the La Consulta region of the Uco Valley. Twenty years ater he started the winery, their diligence and advocacy paid oﬀ; La Consulta was classiﬁed as one of Argentina’s few Geographic Indication (GI) appellations. Today, Altocedro continues to produce outstanding terroir-driven wines using sustainable growing practices, original old-vine rootstocks, indigenous yeasts, hundred-year-old concrete fermentation tanks and minimalist winemaking techniques. The vines range in age up to 70-years-old. All harvesting, sorting, and crushing is done in individual batches by hand, using no machinery in the process, but instead a gravity ﬂow system that was developed at the winery over 100 years ago.
The 2020 'Año Cero’ is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 10-year-old, sustainably farmed vines. This fruit-driven wine is the result of whole-berry fermentation with indigenous yeasts, in small, gravity-fed concrete vats. The must saw a 10% bleed-oﬀ, four pump-overs per day and two délestages*. 30% of the resulting wine spent 8 months in French oak barrels, and was bottled unﬁltered. Deep purple. Inviting aromas of juicy black fruits. The palate is ripe, full of dark berries with subtle notes of green bell pepper, savory olive and sweet tobacco. The ﬁnish is plush, tapering to a slight and pleasing bitterness.
*Délestage—French for “lightening”—is a “rack-and-return” fermentation and maceration technique that separates the juice and grape solids. It used in red winemaking to produce soter, less astringent wines with more fruit character.