Salta, Argentina

Bodegas Colomé and Amalaya are located in Argentina’s Northern province of Salta. With the majestic backdrop of the Andes, Colomé is one Argentina’s oldest working wineries (1831) and boasts the world’s highest vineyards with altitudes of nearly 3048 metres (10,000 feet). Malbec and Torrontes flourish in the sustainably-farmed vineyards.

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Altura Maxima Malbec

SKU 294363
Country Argentina
Region Salta
Type Red
Varietal Malbec
Listing Speculative
Case Config. 3x750ml
Available In BC AB

Colour

Bright dark ruby.

Aroma

Bold aromas of black cherries, blue berries, rosemary, vanilla and spices.

Flavour

Intense, deep concentration of red and dark berries, enlivened by high-altitude acidity.

Food Pairing

Pairs well with steak, braised lamb shank, stew, and venison.

More Info

With the Andes as the backdrop and close to the borders of Bolivia and Chile, the Salta region of Argentina is less accessible than better known wine regions in the country; some have called the area impenetrable. The true expression of terroir in this Malbec comes from the extreme altitude at which the vineyard sits, it receives much more sun, much less UV protection, producing thicker skinned grapes that deliver a more robust mouthfeel supported by fresh acidity. Since 2005, Winemaker Thibaut Delmotte has crafted wines of distinction and international acclaim for Bodega Colome while staying true to his French origins.

97 pts

Tim Atkin MW, Argentina Special Report 2022

2019 -

93 pts

James Suckling, Mar/2022

2019 -

"Lots of depth here, with blackberries, asphalt, wet-stone minerality and savory, roasted spice. A concentrated, brooding red with lots of ripeness, but still juicy. Wrapped by powdery and dusty tannins. If it weren’t for the hint of warmth at the end, this would have rated higher. Has potential, though. Better after 2024."

94 pts

Antonio Galloni's Vinous, Nov/2021

2018 -

"The 2018 Malbec Altura Maxima is made with grapes from a vineyard planted at a height of 3100 feet in Payogasta, Calchaquí Valley and was aged for 24 months. A high altitude red, it presents a ripe, balsamic nose with notes of redcurrant and hints of bay leaf, plum jam and chutney. In the mouth, it’s sheer intensity and juice with heightened freshness and finely grained tannins that underline the lengthy palate which delivers good grip and flavor. A wine of excellent aging potential and longevity."

93 pts

James Suckling, May/2021

2018 -

"A medium-to full-bodied red with perfumed aromas of violets, rose hips, brambleberries, cassis and rock salt. Concentrated, yet fresh with firm, finely knit tannins and tight layers of wild flowers and dark berries. Try from 2023."

97 pts

Tim Atkin MW Best of Argentina Report 2020

2017 -

94 pts

Antonio Galloni's Vinous, Oct/2020

2017 -

"Made with grapes from one of the highest vineyards in the world (3,111 meters) that spend 24 months in used French wood. The cold and high-altitude sun work together to create an outstanding red. Bright, intense violet in the glass. The nose offers sour cherry and acidic fruit, intense violets and a herbal character in which thyme is prominent. In the mouth, the alcohol gives delivers an energetic kick counterbalanced by the heightened freshness. A juicy, firm and potent red like no other on the market."

94 pts

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, Mar/2021

2017 -

"It seems like the latest vintages of the highest-altitude wine in the world is wilder and riper than the initial 2012 and 2013. The 2017 Altura Máxima Malbec has aromas of malted cereals, peat, black olives and boiled vegetables with a touch of rusticity. With time, it develops notes of soy sauce and dried tomatoes. After all, I think that's the wild character of the high-altitude Salta vineyards. It hits the scale at 15% alcohol and has six grams of acidity that keep it lively, but it still feels a little too ripe for me. The grapes were picked at the end of April and put through a double sorting table, a three-day cold soak, fermentation with indigenous yeasts with two soft pumping overs every day and a maceration of 30 to 35 days. It matured in fourth use French oak barrels for 24 months. A wild Malbec! 9,800 bottles were filled in August 2019."

93 pts

James Suckling, Apr/2020

2017 -

"A ripe nose, full of spicy, minty black fruit, crushed blueberries, figs and cigar box, as well as a subtle, balsamic note. Broad, full-bodied palate with linear, polished tannin that is fully engaged with the healthy fruit concentration. Complex and potent. Fruit sourced from a vineyard at 3,111m. Aged in French oak of 3rd and 4th use for 24 months. Drink or hold. 28 barrels made."

95 pts

Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, Oct/2019

2016 -

"The ripe 2016 Altura Maxima Malbec seems to follow the path of the 2015, with pungent aromas of black olives, damp earth, decayed violets and malted cereals that give it a decadent profile. This hits the scale at 15% alcohol, but the palate feels a lot lighter, with a strong strike of acidity going through its core and lifting it up. This is a unique wine from grapes grown at 3,100 meters in altitude (yes, you read it correctly, that's 3,100 meters in altitude!) where the intensity of the light makes for thick skins and an explosion of flavors and aromas. The tannins are really fine and polished and give it a nice texture. It's clean and long and feels light but with lots of inner strength. A unique Malbec. 8,400 bottles were filled in August 2018."

95 pts

Antonio Galloni's Vinous, Sep/2019

2016 -

"Dark medium ruby. High-pitched scents of black fruits, bitter chocolate and violet. Wonderfully suave, thick and weightless, displaying terrific density and definition to its juicy flavors of blackberry, cassis and graphite minerality. What stands out most here is the wine's sophisticated silkiness of texture and light touch. A classic manifestation of high-altitude flavor intensity (this vineyard is on granite and calcaire soil at an altitude of 10,200 feet!), this broad, full-bodied beauty finishes with a firm tannic spine and a rising, tactile whiplash of flavor. Amazing Malbec--as impressive as any in Argentina. (15.3% alcohol, with acidity of 6.2 grams per liter; aged for 24 months in used French barriques)."

 

James Suckling, Mar/2019

2016 -

"Aromas of blackcurrant pastilles and licorice with violet flowers lead to a palate that offers a smooth and velvety array of ripe, rich fruit."

97 pts

Tim Atkin MW 2018 Report: Best of Argentina

2015 -

95 pts

Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, Jun/2018

2015 -

“The 2015 Altura Máxima Malbec is all black olives, decayed violets and malted cereals, a wild and unusual wine with high ripeness but a medium-bodied palate with fine-grained tannins. It is produced with grapes from their seven-year-old vineyard at 3,100 meters in altitude, the highest vineyard in the world producing commercial wine. The grapes were harvested fully ripe at the end of April, which is the equivalent to the end of October in the northern hemisphere. Here, latitude compensates for the altitude, and the grapes manage to ripen fully with strong exposure to sunlight. It matured in fourth use French barriques for 24 months. 6,900 bottles were filled in December 2017.” 

93 pts

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, Jul/2018

2015 -

“(from a 2007 planting on granite and calcaire soil at an altitude of 10,200 feet): Saturated ruby. An essence of Malbec on the nose, with slightly liqueur-like black fruit, smoky mineral and bitter chocolate flavors complicated by a note of espresso from the wine’s oak element (24 months in Taransaud barriques but only 10% new). Wonderfully dense, sappy and concentrated, communicating a powerful impression of soil to its dark berry and deep chocolate flavors. Most impressive today on the slowly building, palate-drenching whiplash of a finish. My one quibble: with its hints of roasted, desiccated fruit, this wine conveys less energy than the 2017 Autentico Malbec.”

93 pts

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, Jul/2018

2014 -

"(from vines at 10,200 feet above sea level, on soil rich in calcaire and granite): Saturated dark ruby. Superripe, even slightly porty aromas of black cherry, beefsteak tomato, roasted plum and chocolate. Extremely dense and bulletproof, with a distinctly roasted quality to its fruit that’s countered by surprising acidity. I suspect this wine will need another five years of bottle aging to harmonize. Finishes with exotic mocha and stewed tomato notes, a mounting medicinal quality and strong building tannins. Like a few past vintages of this one-off, reportedly from the highest vineyard in the world, this Malbec is just this side of too much. But 24 hours in the recorked bottle brought more freshness and focus, not less, with dark berries rising to the surface, and I raised my score. Very dense but not heavy."

97 pts

Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, Dec/2016

2013 -

"... The nose is so spicy and meaty that the best word to describe the first impression is like going into a "salumeria" in Italy, the shops where they sell their delicious "salames." Smelling it just made me hungry, with plenty of savory notes that reminded me of concentrated yeast extract (Marmite or Bovril), terribly spicy and pungent. The vines were planted in 2007, and in 2013 they harvested the grapes slightly earlier than in 2012. The yields are naturally low, as the vines are still finding their balance. The vinification is soft but long, and so is the elevage, extended to two years in well-seasoned neutral barriques. This is really rich and heady, developing layers and layers of aromas and especially a superb texture and a tactile sensation that reminded me of velvet. Floral, with plenty of wild herbs that transported me to the place, this is one of the most distinct and unique Malbecs from Argentina. The Malbec that dreams are made of!" 

94 pts

Antonio Galloni's Vinous, May/2017

2013 -

"(14.9% alcohol; from a 2007 planting on granite and calcaire soil at an altitude of 10,200 feet): Bright dark ruby. Aromas of black cherry, licorice and salty minerality show a distinct but subtle note of roasted berries. Plush, rich and deep but not overly sweet, with its very concentrated red and darker berry flavors enlivened by brisk, high-altitude acidity and complicated by a saline quality. Delivers a lovely refined texture without any heaviness. A gripping wine of great distinction and terroir character. With 24 hours in the recorked bottle, this very dense Malbec revealed Syrah-like nuances of charcoal, game and black olive without losing its light touch."

92 pts

Wine Enthusiast, Feb/2018

2013 -

"This wine's dark, opaque color and jammy, sun-baked aromas are typical of Salta's best Malbecs. It's a saturated, hefty and intense red from some of the highest vineyards in the world, yet it's neither fiery nor aggressive. Its lush, fully developed flavor profile includes cassis, blackberry and chocolate notes that persist into the finish. Drink through 2024."

90 pts

Wine Spectator, Online only 2017

2013 -

"Offers lots of rooibos tea and sanguine notes to the flavors of dark plum, currant and allspice. The brooding finish is filled with mocha, bittersweet chocolate and marzipan details. Drink now through 2020. 575 cases made."

 

James Suckling, Mar/2018

"Lots of plum and chocolate. A big and bold wine made from grapes that were too ripe to give a fresh tasting wine. Too much wood flavor at the finish. Drink now."