The state-of-the-art, entirely gravity-fed Vistalba winery was built in 2002 in the center of Vistalba in the Lujan de Cuyo subregion of Mendoza. Vistalba—both the area’s name and the winery’s name—is comprised of 131 acres located at the foot of the magnificent Cordon del Plata within the Andes Mountains. Alberto Antonini oversees the 25,000 annual case production which comes from vineyards that lie 2,000 feet above sea level and approximately 12 miles west of Mendoza. Because of the plains’ loamy soil and excellent drainage, Vistalba is known for producing some of the best Malbec in Argentina.
With winemaker Alejandro Canovas at the helm, the Vistalba winery produces three red corte (or blends), of which Malbec is the predominant grape: Corte A; Corte B; and Corte C. The wines are selected based on structure and density with the Corte A being the biggest of the three, followed by the Corte B, then the most accessible style, the Corte C. In addition to Malbec, the varietals that comprise the Vistalba wines currently include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bonarda; although from the 2010 vintage going forward, Merlot will not be included. The fruit from these 60-year old vines of distinction—some of which are pre-phylloxera Malbec vines—is all hand-harvested and treated with the utmost care throughout the entire winemaking process.
The distinct Corte blends are the result of the best grapes of each harvest and differ from vintage to vintage. The Vistalba wines share similar terroir—loamy soil with medium to low fertility; cold winters and warm summers with high day temperatures and cool night temperatures—and are vinified using natural yeasts in concrete vats Here are the main factors that differentiate each blend:
Corte A: Made primarily of Malbec with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda, this characteristically intense, complex and well structured blend is 100% aged in French oak barrels for 18 months and 12 months in bottle before release.
Corte B: This typically lush, round blend with velvety tannins is 100% aged in French oak barrels for 12 months and in bottle for 10 months.
Corte C: This ripe, juicy blend for more immediate consumption is 20% aged in French oak barrels for 12 months and 6 months in bottle.