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2011 Ambrosía Precioso, Gualtallary, Uco Valley
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In 2002 a group of friends decided that the price of vineyard land in Argentina would never be lower, following the currency crash. The land which they bought was located in the Gualtallary zone of the Uco valley circa 75 Km south of the city of Mendoza. It is now considered the finest area for premium wine in the Mendoza Province. Having enlisted the help of a local wine maker to process their fruit, the only way they could pay him was in bottles of the resulting wine.
One such bottle came to the attention of Robert Parker who awarded 95 points - remarkable for a first vintage. The wines are now marketed under the Ambrosia label, and Berry Bros & Rudd are delighted to offer them on an exclusive basis in the UK. As ever, it is quality of the fruit that defines the concentration and finish on these wines.
Known as Auxerrois in Cahors, Cot in the Loire and Malbeck in Argentina, this grape has undergone a mini renaissance in the last decade, largely fuelled by its success in South America. It used to be a staple component of the Bordeaux Blend, but it never recovered fully from the 1956 frosts and its plantings there have fallen by 75% as growers have replaced it with more fashionable, and crucially, more durable grapes.
It is still grown successfully in South West France where its most famous wine is Cahors. This wine used to be black as coal and tough as leather but improvements in viticultural and vinification techniques have led to riper, softer, more approachable wines that are now amongst the best of the region.
In Argentina it is widely grown and produces deep coloured wines with generous black fruit characteristics, balanced acidity and smooth tannins. It is either bottled on its own or as part of a Bordeaux blend. In Chile it is the 3rd most widely planted grape after Pais and Cabernet Sauvignon and tends to produce firmer, more tannic wines than its Argentinian neighbours. In Chile it is often blended with Merlot and Petit Verdot.