Friday, March 8, 2019

Zuccardi Tasting

Familia Zuccardi is a fast growing, and increasingly important winery in the Uco Valley. The production is now about 100,000 cases per annum. They emphasize terroir and claim it is the next stage in the Uco Valley, after the exploration of high altitude. Interestingly, and in total contrast to Matervini, they are keen on alluvial soils. They do not focus on oak. Maturation takes place in concrete vats, 500 litre old barrells, and 1000 litre foudres (see below).

I start the tasting with the mid-range Q wines, which are available in many countries. The 2017 Chardonnay is fresh and has flavours of citrus and stone fruit. Old oak is used; it is a balanced wine (92 points). It actually beats the 2016 Malbec (90 points) and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, which has some lean and green characters (88 points).

The Poligonos range is there to show the influence of terroir. These are three Malbecs from 2017, which do not see any oak. The San Pablo, from a 1500m vineyard , is from the coolest subregion. It is dark and intensive, but not a huge wine with great energy (93 points). The Altamira is similar but more rounded, from lower altitude (92 points).  The Tupungato from Gualtallary (the real hotspot at the moment) ranked between the two, as far as fruit weight is concerned. The wine was a bit sweet on the mid-palate (91 points). So interestingly, altitude was responsible for the different expressions of the wines, much more so than terroir, in my opinion. (Therefore, I will leave out the story on calciumcarbonite, and different rock sizes.)

The 2014 Jose Zuccardi is the most traditional of the wines. It is aged in foudres. It is a very pure and elegant wine, well rounded with complex black fruit flavours and a soft tannin finish (94 points). I preferred it to the Concreto, obviously aged in concrete vats, which is a bit leaner (92 points). Again, both wines are available in many markets. 

The stars are the high priced Aluvional wines from Altamira and Gualtallary. They are a selection of grapes from these two vineyards. The 2014 Aluvional Altamira is very smooth and elegant, with added chocolate flavours and great length (95 points). The 2014 Aluvional Gualtallary is very dark, with a steely determination and drive (95 points). 

Then there is the 2014 Finca Piedra Infinita, which comprises the fruit from the best barrell(s). You would normally expect this to be the biggest wine in the range, but it is actually a lighter wine, very layered and elegant, but to me it lacked the mouthfeel of the previous two wines (93 points).

Overall, this is an impressive winery with a great range of Malbecs. The terroir story is not yet proven, in my view, but it will be interesting to watch.

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