Don't let winemaker Thibaut Delmotte's soft-spoken demeanor fool you - this 38-year old Frenchman has made history with Altura Maxima - the world's highest elevation vineyard at an astounding 10,207 ft. above sea level. Owned by Bodega Colomé, which was founded in 1831 and is Argentina's oldest working winery, the recent release of Altura Maxima's first vintage (2012) represents more than a decade of hard work to conquer the unique challenges posed by winemaking at such an extreme altitude. Bodega Colomé was purchased by renowned Swiss businessman Donald Hess in 2001 and Thibaut has been at the winery's helm since 2005. A testament to their successful partnership, Altura Maxima is an extraordinarily elegant and compelling Malbec with concentrated fruit flavors and vibrant acidity - a beautiful splurge at $125.
I had the pleasure of meeting Thibaut and asked him to describe Altura Maxima - watch the short video for his insight on this very special wine. And listen to my podcast for more of my conversation with Thibaut and learn how love led him to Argentina and his hopes for the future vintages of Altura Maxima.
For a less expensive introduction to the Bodoge Colomé style, I recommend their 2013 Estate Malbec ($25). Located in Argentina's Salta region, even Bodega Colomé's lower altitude vineyards are extremely high when compared to wineries in other regions and this difference is detectable in the wine's flavor. Higher altitudes offer more sun and less UV production so the grapes are thicker-skinned and more robust. Dark and intense, this luscious vino is both delicate and powerful with delicious flavors of bold black fruit with hints of spice and pepper.
To learn more about Bodega Colomé and Altura Maxima, visit their website.