Bodega Familia Zuccardi
Familia Zuccardi was founded by Don Alberto Zuccardi and it is still a family business with the third generation of Zuccardis in management and more than 450 employees. Its base is in Santa Rosa, Mendoza. The first vineyards were planted in 1963, the main winery was built in 1968, and it now has 750 ha in production.
Zuccardi produces wines under several labels and at various price levels. It also makes three single variety olive oils. At the winery, in addition to the wines and oils, it offers numerous hospitality programs and even lodging and dining opportunities. But that is not what sets it apart. At present, about 30% of Zuccardi’s production is organic, the vineyards are managed with sustainable practices, and effort is made to reduce its impact on the environment even including the reduction of the weight of its bottles and the use of recycled paper for labels and cartons. But perhaps even more unusual is the fact that it offers an educational program, including English, to its employees.
For additional information, see: www.santajulia.com.
Santa Julia (Bodega Familia Zuccardi)
Santa Julia is named after Don Alberto Zuccardi’s granddaughter, Julia Zuccardi. Currently, she is in charge of Casa Visitante, the winery’s cultural, tourism, and hospitality division.
The nv Brut Rosé, [Tupungato Vineyard], Mendoza, $13, is a Charmat method, 100% Pinot Noir sparkler. A very light nose of ripe strawberry plus hints of cranberry, floral, and yeast introduces the same as flavors plus a touch of citrus and good bubbles. It finishes medium-broad and medium-long. All the flavors are evenly distributed across the tongue. Well balanced, structured, and integrated. Tasty. Good Value.
The 2010 Torrontés, Mendoza, $10, 13.8% alc., saw no oak and shows mineral, earth, and soft lemon on the nose. All repeat in the reverse order as flavors plus somewhat bitter lemon peel, and moderate acidity before a medium-broad, truncated finish. Well put together.
The 2011 Chardonnay, Organica, Mendoza, $11, 12.8% alc., was made entirely in stainless steel and has aromas of light oak, sweet green apple, lime, and Bosc pear. All continue as flavors spread broadly across the tongue and accented with moderate acidity before a long, medium-broad finish. Medium-bodied and with light to medium intensity, it is a straight forward Chard’ for everyday drinking.
Thirty percent of the 2010 Malbec, [Maipú, Santa Rosa, and Uco Valleys], Mendoza, $10, 13.7% alc., was aged in older French oak for four months. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, smoke, green olive, and licorice repeat as fairly light bodied flavors laced with very fine, smooth tannin and moderate acidity before a medium-broad, medium-long finish. It will pair nicely with food and is what most people are looking for when they buy an Argentine Malbec. It will be popular. Good Value.
The 2010 Malbec, Reserva, Mendoza, $12, 13.9% alc., is bigger and more forward than the preceding bottling. The fruit is the same on the nose with the addition of some oak. Everything carries onto the palate which is nicely bright and adds ripe but not sweet boysenberry, good acidity, and fine tannin. It finishes medium-broad and medium-long. Medium-bodied, well balanced, structured, and integrated. It will be popular.
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Organica, Mendoza, $11, 13.5% alc., opens light with raspberry, cherry, and a touch of alcohol on the nose. Flavors of the same fruit plus a touch of smoky oak, moderate acidity, and fine tannin finishes medium-broad and medium-long. Light bodied and well put together.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, Mendoza, $12, 14% alc., spent eight months in French oak and opens with baked dark fruit aromas: mostly blackberry with some plum. The palate adds a touch of spice but is curiously light when compared with the nose and is not sweet and is laced with grippy tannin. The long finish broadens at the back and shows more spice.
The 2009 Tardio, Mendoza, $13/500 ml., 9.5% alc., is 85% late harvest Torrontes blended with 15% Viognier. Aromas of orange peel, pineapple, mineral, grapefruit, floral, and honey repeat in the reverse order as rich but not particularly sweet flavors because the wine has substantial acidity to balance the residual sugar. Everything carries through the long, medium-broad finish. It is fresh and has good intensity and is well integrated, structured, and balanced. Good to Very Good.
The 2010 Q Chardonnay, [Tupungato Vineyards], Mendoza, $22, 13.5% alc., was fermented in French oak, completed partial malolactic fermentation, and was aged sur lie with weekly bâtonnage for six months.
The 2009 Torrontes, Serie A, Salta, $15, 13.4% alc., saw no oak and opens with floral, mineral, apple, and pear on the nose. All repeat as round, mouthfilling flavors that finish medium-broad and medium-long with an old, wet wood note. Well put together.
The 2006 Q Tempranillo, Santa Rosa Vineyards, Mendoza, $22, 14% alc., was aged for one year in new American oak. Very ripe, sweet aromas of caramel, currant, blackberry jam, brown sugar, and orange marmalade introduce flavors of currant, blackberry, and brown sugar with sweetness hiding in the background. The long finish broadens at the back. Well put together.
Seventy percent of the 2010 Malbec, Serie A, [La Consulta, Vista Flores, and Agrelo Vineyards], Mendoza, $15, 14.3% alc., was barrel aged for ten months in new and older oak. Light, fresh, forward aromas of cherry and blackberry with hints of sweetness and smoke precede bright flavors of the same fruit accented with fine tannin. The medium-broad, truncated finish completes the picture. This is a straight forward Malbec for everyday drinking.
In contrast, the 2009 Q Malbec, Mendoza, $22, 14.5% alc., which was sourced from the same vineyards, was matured for twelve months in French oak and then for an additional six months in bottle before release. Also very ripe with a nose of baked blackberry, cherry, brown sugar, vanilla, and smoky oak, it has juicy flavors of cherry, cranberry, brown sugar, vanilla, and smoky oak laced with good acidity and fine tannin before a long, medium-broad finish. Well balanced, integrated, and structured. Very Tasty.
The 2007 Zeta, Mendoza, $45, 14.5% alc., is a blend of 68% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Tempranillo. The Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon were aged in new French oak, the Tempranillo in new American oak, all for fourteen months. After blending the wine was bottled and then matured for an additional 14 months before release. A bouquet of vanilla, earth, baked blackberry, baked dark cherry, violet, and smoky oak continues as flavors but without the baked character and with the additions of good acidity and tannin. It finishes long and medium-broad. Well integrated, structured, and balanced. Very Tasty.