Argentina: More than Malbec
A seminar presented by José Zuccardi
16th May 2006
To start with a few facts about Argentina, as set out by José Zuccardi:
We tasted the following wines:
2004 Vida Organica Sparkling Chardonnay, 12.5%
100% chardonnay from Zuccardi vineyards in Santa Rosa, Mendoza. Made by the charmat method, with an extended period on its lees. Annual production is around 26,000 bottles. Zuccardi are currently experimenting with other varieties for sparkling wines.
A crisp, very autolytic nose with some pear drops. This is no more than a simple fizz. At £7.99 it’s its money. OK. 80/100
2005 Santa Rosa Viognier, Mendoza (tank sample), 13.5%
Zuccardi were the first company in Argentina to grow viognier: the vineyards in Santa Rosa, Mendoza were planted in 1993 with vines imported from France. The grapes were harvested in the first half of March and the wine was made entirely in stainless steel. 45,000 cases are produced in 2005.
This has a lovely sweet, rich nose that is very powerful and concentrated, with some pencil eraser notes. Sweetish attack, which becomes very luscious and velvety on the palate. This is a huge wine with tropical, confected flavours. Very Good/Very Good Indeed. 89/100
2006 Santa Rosa Syrah Rosé, Mendoza, 13%
This was macerated on its skins for eight hours to extract the colour and then fermented at low temperatures. Production is in the order of 15,000 cases.
It’s a fabulous deep pink colour with hints of red. Very attractive ripe, red fruit nose with tinned strawberry juice and a bit of bubblegum. Very wide and open on the attack; less so when it’s in the mouth. It has some over-strong flavours that don’t quite coincide with the apparent freshness. Good. 82/100
2005 Vida Organica Sangiovese Bonarda, Mendoza, 13%
A blend of 60% sangiovese and 40% bonarda from vineyards in Santa Rosa, Mendoza. 28,000 cases were produced.
This has a good, attractive nose with sweet, ripe raspberry and cherry fruit that’s quite heady. Very good palate: velvety and smooth. This is ripe, fruity, easy drinking. Very Good. 87/100
2004 Zuccardi Textual Caladoc, Mendoza, 14%
Caladoc is a cross of grenache and malbec, which Zuccardi have pioneered in Argentina: the grapes come from vines planted in 1998 in Santa Rosa in Mendoza and aged for eight months in French oak.
An interesting smoky, tobacco nose, which after a while develops a marked caramelly note to accompany the very, very deep concentrated black fruit. Big, wide open attack. There’s lots of very ripe fruit on the palate. After a while, it develops a bit of bitterness that seems to add interest, rather than detracting. Quite chocolatey after. Very Good Indeed. 90/100
2003 Zuccardi Q Tempranillo, Mendoza, 14.5%
This was matured for a year in American oak. Zuccardi were the first producer in Argentina to make and export tempranillo wines.
A very dark and inky appearance. There are fresh leather, blackberries and a little blackcurrant on the nose. There’s very ripe fruit on the palate: this is very serious stuff and quite aromatic. There are firm tannins on the finish, which reinforce the impression of a full, heavy wine. Very Good Indeed. 89+/100
2002 Zuccardi Q Malbec, Mendoza, 14.5%
First produced in 1998, Zuccardi’s Q Malbec comes from vines planted in Maipu, Mendoza. It is aged in French oak for twelve months and around 78,000 bottles were made in 2002.
It is an incredibly dark, young Quink colour. Very, very deep crème de mûre nose. There’s sweet ripe fruit on the attack and following through. Spicy tannins appear towards the finish. Very pleasing and very attractive. Very Good Indeed. 92/100
2002 Zuccardi Zeta, Mendoza, 14%
This is a blend of 54% malbec and 46% tempranillo, with each variety vinified separately. The malbec comes from vineyards in Maipu that were planted in 1998 and yield around seven tons per hectare; the tempranillo comes from Santa Rosa vineyards planted in 1974 and yielding eight tons per hectare. Both varieties were picked in early April 2002 and aged for 14 months in oak, the malbec in French oak and the tempranillo in American oak. 13,000 bottles were produced, bottled on 23rd June 2003.
It is a young dark purple. The nose is very attractive, deep and multi-layered with deep black fruits and mint, together with some hints of fresh sawn wood. Very ripe and rich on the palate. Velvety smooth and rich. Very impressive. Very Good Indeed+. 93/100
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