The Clock Tower room in St Pancras Chambers, high above St Pancras station, London was the perfect venue for the launch recently of Altura – Bodega Norton’s exciting new range sourced from high altitude vineyards in Uco valley, Mendoza. Chief Winemaker David Bonomi stopped over for a day in north London to introduce the range comprising of three varietals; Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, an Argentine menu was created by Martin Milessi to match each wine.

Altura is inspired by the connection between soil, altitude and the microclimates of vineyards in Valle de Uco, Mendoza; all three wines have been produced from grapes selected from different sub-regions of this valley located 8o kilometres south of Mendoza city: Gualtallary, Altamira and Los Chacayes.

Valle de Uco is possibly the most exciting wine region in Argentina, if not South America and is gaining a reputation as one of the new world’s prestige wine-making regions. Within the Mendoza appellation, this valley has attracted many top producers in recent years, both from the international winemaking scene and from second-generation Argentinean winemakers such as David Bonomi, to seek out new terroirs and test the extremes of Mendoza’s viticultural limits. As a result, the area under vine in Uco has nearly doubled in the last decade from 12,235ha to 23,393ha with more than half of this planted to Malbec.

David Bonomi selected grapes for Altura Malbec from Los Chacayes, an area located in the western corner of the Tunuyán district in southern Uco with an altitude of 1,300 metres. The soil here is colluvium: alluvial origin with a high presence of red pebbles. Grapes from this area can produce wines of great concentration and with potential for long ageing. The five hectares of terraced vineyards that for Altura Malbec were planted by David Bonomi fifteen years ago. Winemaking processes are gentle: after cold maceration, fermentation took place in small concrete vats with malolactic fermentation taking place. The wine was then aged for twelve months in second use French barrels. Altura Malbec displays a remarkable intensity of fruit, combining flavours of damsons and mulberries, offset by complex mineral and earthy notes, along with great freshness and perfume, a result of the higher altitude location with broader diurnal temperature variations compared to vineyards in Luján de Cuyo.

Altura Pinot Noir is produced from grapes sourced in Gualtallary, Tupungato in the northern and coolest area of Uco, vineyards are planted here at altitudes of up to 1,600 metres, the extremes of Mendoza’s viticultural limits. Fermentation and ageing for ten months took place in concrete vats to retain the delicate fresh notes of the grape. The menu of black cassava, fake caviar, rhubarb and Cachi paprika perfectly matched the delicate notes of the Pinot Noir.

Altura Cabernet Franc was sourced from grapes from Altamira, this region of Uco is well-established with its own IG (geographical indication) with some vineyards that are more than a century old. Cabernet Franc grapes were handpicked from vineyards at 1,100 metres altitude, followed by fermentation in concrete vats and ageing in second use French barrels. Cabernet Franc was matched with slow cooked lamb, aubergines, white grapes and mint sauce with chipotle.
Thank-you to chef Martin Milessi at UNA for creating the menu.


Why is Malbec World Day celebrated on April 17th?
The origin of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France, known a Cot in the appellation of Cahors, where winemaking dates back to the Roman empire. Malbec Argentino arrived in Argentina in 1853, brought by Michel Aimé Pouget, a French agronomist who was hired to carry out the management of the Agricultural Quinta de Mendoza. Pouget proposed new grape varieties as a means to enhancing Argentina’s wine industry, and it was on this day that the project was proposed for legislation in the Province of Mendoza.
In the late nineteenth century with the help of Italian and French immigrants, the wine industry in Argentina grew exponentially and with it Malbec, which quickly adapted to the various terroirs giving even better results than in its region of origin.
The 17th April is now recognized as the symbolic date that marked the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry and now the Malbec grape is renowned as the flagship grape of Argentina.

You must be at least 18+ years of age in the United Kingdom to enter the Berkmann Wine Cellars website.