Terrazas de los Andes’ wines come from high-altitude vineyards — it says so right on the label, and the name itself translates to “terraces of the Andes.” In fact, the altitude of its Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley sub-regions ranges from 3,280 to 3,937 feet.
In general, higher-altitude vineyards allow grapes to ripen more slowly and preserve acidity, although 2020 was a hot year in Mendoza and the harvest was several weeks earlier than usual. The result in Terrazas de los Andes’ Cabernet is a delicious, fruit-forward wine with a lean elegance that is drinking well now and will get even better with a year or two of bottle age.
At $20 or so, the wine drinks well above its price point in terms of complexity, showing a core of dark berry fruit interspersed with notes of herbs, leather, graphite, and bittersweet chocolate. Firm, dusty tannins show its youthfulness but provide good structure.
Most of the wine was aged for a year in French oak barrels, while a small part of it spent time in concrete vats to preserve the freshness of the fruit.
This is a wine that will sing with grilled foods, from steaks and lamb to spicy pork and chicken to roasted vegetables. It makes a convincing case for Cabernet from Argentina as a solid, less expensive alternative to Cabernet-based wines from Bordeaux, California, and elsewhere.