Achával Ferrer

Achával Ferrer is a large Argentinian wine producer based in the region of Mendoza.

The estate is renowned for producing high-end wines made from Malbec, usually blended from classic Bordeaux varieties and grown in the high altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley.

The history of the Achával Ferrer estate is a warming journey through the friendship between four people: Santiago Achával, Manuel Ferrer, Roberto Cipresso and Tiziano Siviero. They sat down in 1995 and mapped out their vision for creating their wine company. A few years later, in 1998, they purchased their first vineyard, Finca Diamante, the beginnings of the company. They also enlisted the help of Diego Rosso.

In the same year, while driving around seeking a north-facing slope to purchase, Santiago Achával made a comment about a vineyard he saw that was in very poor condition. Roberto Cipresso was at the wheel, listening, later describing his silence as a rare thing for Italians. A few days later, Roberto called Santiago and asked him to trust him and purchase that piece of land. After tasting the grapes, Santiago said no more and agreed to purchase Finca Altamira.

From those very grapes, the vintage 1999 received 5 Decanter Stars, the highest ever scored by an Argentinian wine. Santiago never hid the fact that they deserve no credit for the quality of the grapes, but still laughs at himself for having such poor judgement when first viewing the vineyard, based solely on its appearance.

In 2000, the last two vineyards of the estate were purchased: Finca Bella Vista and Mirador.

In 2006, Roberto was named the Best Italian Winemaker by the Italian Society of Sommeliers. In that same year, the company purchased the winery in Bella Vista, right on the shore of Mendoza River.

In the following years, the estate completed a process of expansion, leading to the brand Achával Ferrer being distributed to 65 different markets worldwide. In 2012, Finca Bella Vista was named as one of the top 10 wineries in the world by Wine Spectator.

In recent times, the company has changed ownership and is now in the hands of a French group. However, the very foundation of Achával Ferrer still relies on the concept of friendship, as well as the desire to carry on growing together, a must for an estate that has won multiple awards each year since its conception.

Achával Ferrer has a vineyard surface of about 50 hectares. These are spread across 4 different sites, reaching a production of roughly 600,000 bottles back in 2007.

Production is predominantly Malbec, accounting for 70% of the total vines, with Bordeaux Blend amounting to 20% and Cabernet Sauvignon 8%.

As of today, the estate produces 8 different wines. The best seller is their Malbec Mendoza, representing almost 400,000 bottles sold every year. The wines can be made from a single grape only or blend.

The winemaker at Achával Ferrer is Gustavo Rearte. Gustavo actually studied in Mendoza, before embarking a tour of the world with a view of perfecting his winemaking techniques. During this time he travelled to New Zealand and California, gaining experience from other New World environments.

The vineyards of the estate feature different plots, which are generally high altitudes. Mirador is located at 700 metres on sea level and Bella Vista at 980. The highest ones are Altamira, 1050 metres on sea level, and Diamante, the first purchased by the company and the largest, located at 1100 metres. All the vineyards, except Diamante are planted with Malbec, with Mirador and Altamira growing nothing else.

They present different soils, from clayey lime on sandy rocks, to limestone on sandy rocks, as well as volcanic ash on rock enriched by volcanic sediments and sandy soils on volcanic ashes.

The vineyards are irrigated by channels, which is the traditional method in Argentina. The average age of the vines is, around 107 years. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that Achával Ferrer privileges a non-intrusive approach in the vineyards, as well as in the winery more generally. The grapes are handpicked at harvest, maintaining very low yields. In the winery, no sulphites are used and there is almost no temperature controls for fermentation. Equally, there is no clarification, fining or filtering before bottling.

Ageing happens in French oak barrels, usually for approximately 15 months. However, depending on the wines, the ageing ranges from 9 to 18 months.

The style of Achával Ferrer wines reflects the difference between wine New and Old World, with fruit, freshness, flavour and opulence very prominent. These wines also show a good balance between ripeness and a natural acidity for freshness. They also possess plenty of ageing potential.

The Beauty & The Taste have selected for you a 2010 Achával Ferrer Finca Altamira Malbec La Consulta, from the very same vineyard Santiago misjudged back in 1998.