Achaval Ferrer should need no introduction to anyone with a passing interest in Argentinean wine, a paradigm of how far the country has progressed over the last decade. In 2011, founders Santiago Achaval and Manuel Ferrer sold a large percentage of shares to the SPI group that owns Stolichnaya vodka as well as shares in Tenuto d’Ornellaia and Frescobaldi, although both Ferrer and Achaval remain on the managing board. Instead of visiting the winery (which I intend to do in the future), I tasted wines past and present with Santiago in London, where I was afforded more time to plot the wine’s development in the glass. The tasting was no revelation, since I have encountered and appreciated the wines for many years. They are well-crafted, very pure and stylistically equidistant between Old World and New. My reviews will seem meaner and the scores more parsimonious than might be anticipated. It simply reflects where I see the wines in the context of such a comprehensive overview of a dynamic country – great wines for sure and very consistent, but perhaps others have stepped up their game? The older vintages have certainly held up well, although a demanding connoisseur would expect more in the way of secondary aromas and flavors to replace the lost primary ones.
Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira 2010
“Finca Altamira comes from 10 acres of old vines in La Consulta, with some that are 80 years old that is aged in 90% French and 10% American oak.The 2010 Finca Altamira is raised entirely in new French oak. It has a lifted bouquet with blackberry, graphite, a touch of soy and crushed stone. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, fine tannins and great balance. There is a wonderful purity to this wine, with touches of spice and cooked meat towards the finish. Excellent. Drink 2016-2030.”
93 Points, NEl Martin, Wine Advocate
Dark medium ruby. Blackberry, black plum, violet, cassis and a touch of leather on the nose. Silky on the palate, fresh acidity and refined tannins. Marked layers of espresso with a long floral very expressive finish. 80 Year old ungrafted vines yielind 1/2 kilo per plant – around 1/3 bottle. New French oak for 15 months
“Altamira merges high mountain and extreme climate. Calm and quietude blend together with the intensity of Tunuyán heights. It is the most balanced wine of the estate’s domains; its massive bouquet assortment sprinkles varicoloured notes, ranging from red and black fruits to flowers, spices and minerals. It is rich, fresh and sumptuous, complex and fascinating. Just as a person full of wisdom, Altamira will always show something new to enlighten us.” Winemaker notes
Achaval Ferrer was started in 1998 by a group of 4 Argentinian and Italian friends. They are a refeerence point for quality wines in Argentina and considered amongst the very top estates.