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AltoCedro

Alto Cedro Producer Logo

 

Our Wines: Please click here to view wines

Location and Climate

Altocedro is located at in La Consulta, 3,300 feet above sea level at the foot of the Andes, 60 miles southwest of the city of Mendoza. It is recognised as one of the premier growing areas for Malbec and for other red varietals. Technically, La Consulta belongs to the San Carlos department, but has recently been awarded its own viticultural appellation due to its distinct qualities. The Tunuyan River flows through the middle of the region, bringing fresh Andean snowmelt and relief from the dry, hot climate. 

The region’s high altitude combined with the province’s climate provides the ideal conditions for grapes grown in La Consulta’s vineyards: hot, sunny days, cool nights, minimal rainfall and low humidity. This combination produces grapes with balanced sugars and acidity while achieving phenolic ripeness. Terrain is mostly alluvial with a clay and rock base and a stony, sandy surface, allowing for sufficient drainage and forcing vines to grow deep, strong roots.   

Surrounded on all sides by vineyards, the one-stoplight-town of La Consulta has a strong viticulture history, adding an invaluable human factor to the favourable geographical characteristics and creating a premier region for high quality wine production.

Alto Cedro Windery 

History:


Altocedro was established in 1989 with the purchase of an ancient winery surrounded by 27 towering cedars (cedros) in La Consulta, deep in the heart of Mendoza’s Valle de Uco. Mario, Karim’s father, took early advantage of the grape-friendly terroir and used the land to make concentrated grape juice for export. Ten years later, newly trained oenologist Karim took over the reigns in 1999 and decided to convert the building back to its original roots as a winery.Karim Mussi Saffie, Altocedro’s head winemaker and owner, and his family have been part of Argentina’s wine industry for more than 30 years. The family was one of the country’s pioneers in exporting viticultural products and bringing them to the international stage. 

Father and son continue to partner together, building on a foundation of shared family expertise and consistently striving to push the boundaries with the quality wines Altocedro has become synonymous with.

 

Winery: 

In 2000, half of the antiquated winery was renovated and state-of-the-art technology was added, creating a balance between traditional winemaking processes and modern technological innovations. 

The traditional grape transport system was replaced with a 100% gravity flow system that avoids damage to the berries and the corresponding increase in temperature. Eight of the twenty-four epoxy-covered concrete tanks were refurbished, allowing for 100,000 litres in production a year. 

In 2011, the winery continued to undergo a second phase of remodelling. A new double sorting and destemming table strengthens the gravity flow system and ensures whole grapes make it to the fermentation tanks and barrels intact. The remaining sixteen concrete tanks were also refurbished, expanding production volume to 270,000 litres per year. Additional changes to enhance the winery, including plans to add stainless steel tanks, will take place in the coming years. 

Despite all these technological advances, Karim continues to use sustainable growing practices to produce limited amounts of terroir-driven wines. All harvesting, sorting and crushing is done in individual batches by hand to ensure a high-quality final product.

 

Viticulture Information: 

Altocedro has three vineyards (59 acres) all located within La Consulta. Ranging from 15-104 years old, these ancient vines are testament to the area’s winegrowing history, creating a living expression of Argentine viticulture. 

The high quality grapes are cultivated using a variety of techniques depending on the vineyard, from pressurised drip and traditional flood irrigation (sourced from the Tunuyán River), to canopy management including double Guyot and double cordon systems to low and high trellis systems. The plant density ranges from 1,400 to 2,000 plants per acre, creating another layer of variety among the grapes. Vineyard management focuses on vine health, homogenous growth and a balanced canopy, allowing nature to runs its course with little human intervention.

There are an additional eight grape suppliers from La Consulta that Altocedro source from; all with ancient vines that date from 50 to 100 years old.

 

People: 

  • Karim Mussi Saffie, Owner and Winemaker
Alto Cedro Winemaker

Karim Mussi Saffie is a rising force to be reckoned with. At 36 years old, he is a winemaker and entrepreneur by vocation and training. He has presided over Altocedro since 1999. The winery is in its twelfth year of life, with ten vintages that have fulfilled Karim’s vision of making the best quality wine possible from La Consulta’s ideal terroir.

In 2007 Karim was recognised by the Consejo Empresario Mendocino with the Outstanding Young Mendocinean Award in the Commercial Achievements, Economic and Business category. His Altocedro Malbec Reserva was chosen as one of Wine Spectator’s ‘Top 100’ wines of 2008 and the 2009. Año Cero Tempranillo is the highest rated of its varietal in Argentina. 

With ‘La Consulta Terroir Premium Wines’, Karim has positioned Altocedro among the most important markets in the world including, but not limited to, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and the UK. 

Besides heading up his own winery, Karim also acts as consultant winemaker and advises emerging projects in the most promising Argentine wine areas.

Karim is more than happy to discuss world politics (particularly Reaganmics and Margaret Thatcher), current events, 17th Century British philosophy, seventies rock (The Doors and Led Zeppelin are favourites) and the genius of Ayn Rand. During harvest, you can find him at El Cielo in La Consulta enjoying their lomito especial and a Stella. As everyone knows, it takes a lot of beer to make a good wine.

 

Website: 

www.altocedro.com.ar