One factor among others contributing to the success of Malbec from Mendoza is the altitude of the region. Altitude has an important effect on temperature, and temperature in high-altitude vineyards plays an important role for two reasons. First, in general a vineyard planted at a higher altitude will experience a lower average temperature than a vineyard planted at lower altitude. This means a longer growing season, more time for grapes to reach optimum ripeness and more time for the grapes to develop components that will contribute aroma, color and flavor to the wine. Second, the vines will experience a greater diurnal variation. During the daytime the ripening grapes will increase their sugar content, which yeast will convert into alcohol. At night the photosynthesis will cease and the vine will begin to use its carbohydrates and other organic components for its own biological processes. At a low temperature these processes will use fewer of these components, leaving them to contribute aroma, color and flavor to the eventual wine. In addition, low temperatures help preserve natural acids which contribute to balance and elegance in wine.
The second effect of altitude, particularly in the case of Malbec, is the increase in solar radiation to which the grapes are exposed. This intense solar radiation has two important effects. The grapes develop thicker skins, skins rich in pigment and tannin. Particularly in the case of tannins, grapes at high altitude produce fewer monomeric tannins and more polymeric tannins, tannins which favor a structured wine which is also soft and rounded. The second effect of solar radiation, particularly in the case of Malbec, is the development of aromas of raspberry and flowers, most notably violets. Lovers of Malbec from Mendoza are already well familiar with these characteristics typical of wines produced at high altitude, particularly in Uco Valley.
Bodega La Azul is a small winery found in the rocky mountains of Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. Located in the sub-zone of Agua Amarga at 1,200 meters (3,940 feet) above sea level, the winery produces small quantities of four red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The prudent use of oak showcases the fruit aspect of the wine, allowing it to reveal its elegance and terroir.
A deep plum red color. On the nose, red and black forest fruits as well as cassis, chocolate, vanilla and hints of mature tobacco and pepper. The wine shows well-integrated, mature and structured tannins, with a refreshing level of acidity and a pleasant and lengthy finish.
- Winery: Bodega La Azul
- Wine: Azul Reserve
- Vintage: 2005
- Country: Argentina
- Appellation: Agua Amarga, Uco Valley, Mendoza
- Type: dry red wine
- Composition: 60% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Ageing: 15 months in first-use American and French oak barrels
- Alcohol: 13.8%
- Format: 750 ml
- Closure: Natural cork
- Serving temperature: 16° – 18°C. (61° – 64°F.)
- Optimum consumption: through 2015
- Pairing: Roasted red meats with complex sauces; roasted game such as venison or wild boar
- Website: http://www.bodegalaazul.com/
- In Peru imported by Bumers Group S.A.C.
- Suggested retail price: S/. 77.90