Bodega Colome was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolas Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascension, who was married to Jose Benjamin Davalos, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colome. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaqui Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colome the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.
The altitude of the Upper Calchaqui Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes because the sun's ultraviolet rays are present to a higher degree. The higher the altitude, the more exposed the grapes are to the sun's ultraviolet rays, which makes them able to generate a thicker and darker skin to protect themselves. This leads to more colour and concentration of flavour building up in the grapes. The climate here is dry with very little rainfall, on average around 120mm per year. A large temperature difference (25ºC) between day and night aids the retention of natural acidity within the grapes. The fruit for this wine comes predominantly from the Santa Jakoba vineyard, which has some of the oldest vines in Argentina dating back to 1854. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed Bio-dynamically.
Overall, the CalchaquiÂ Valley enjoyed optimal conditions in 2018. The weather during the growing season was excellent, with no spring frost or disease development, allowing good fruit set. The rainfall was low in summer but with good cloud cover most days so the grapes could ripen with no sunburn or botrytis development.
The grapes were sorted in the vineyard and again by the optical sorting table before they underwent four days of cold maceration. 90% of the wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks, with very gently twice daily punch downs. There was an extended maceration time of 35/40 days in total for building the body of the wine, and only the free run juice was used in the production of Autentico. The remaining 10% was fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete eggs, with no punch downs and a shorter extended maceration time of 15 days. The wine was then aged for 10 months before bottling, and a further 10 months in bottle before being released.
This unoaked Malbec has a deep inky colour with violet hues. Aromas of black fruit, cherries, mulberry and figs combine with spicy notes and a touch of minerality. On the palate, this wine is robust and concentrated, with crisp acidity and ripe, finely-grained tannins that provide structure and balance.