With it being Malbec World Day, it would be pretty sloppy of us not to get something up on the blog. So, here’s a juicy, little ditty focusing on the dude of the day – Malbec.
I want to focus on ground-breaking Argentinean Malbec. Although there’s no mistaking this grape’s roots are firmly planted in France where it has a strong history, it is beginning to demand international attention with Argentina at the helm. I’m also going to hone in on a producer I visited in January and look more closely at what they’re now doing to take Malbec to the next level.
After flying over the Andes from Chile – which is one of the most amazing things ever – I was even more pumped about the next few days. Jose Alberto Zuccardi (Mr Zuccardi) picked me up and we set off on a 100km trek south of Mendoza City, to their vineyards in San Carlos. In the car on the way down we talked about all sorts: wine chatter that mainly focused on what his winery was doing and what lay on the horizon. It quickly became apparent how passionate Mr Zuccardi was and how involved he’s been in looking to drive Familia Zuccardi forward.
He explained that moving forwards, Sebastian Zuccardi (his son), the 3rd generation of the family, will be leading the way. Together they predict that Malbec will continue to grow as Argentina’s flagship varietal and his aim is to be at the TOP of the multitude of producers out there gunning for first place. A goal that, after spending a few days with them, I believe is well within their grasp.
Setting foot on the first vineyard, we were met by young viticulturist, Martin, who would be my mentor for the day. He quickly got into the work being undertaken within the vineyard and the lengths they are going to, trying to get the most out of it. He explained that to create the very best wines possible they need to really understand their vineyard from the vine roots up. This is an attitude I wholeheartedly support.
To do this they have looked to technology and set out to polymap their vineyards – what’s that all about then?
Mapping the “Terroir” using electromagnetic induction to understand the soil profile i.e
– Soil Chemistry
– Taking account of global positioning (incl. altitude)
Thus making the right decisions on:
– Row Orientation & Row Spacing
– Irrigation needs
– Canopy Management
– Nematode control
To achieve: the right varieties in the right place, reaching their optimum quality.
Now to the real levels of dedication they are showing – at vintage time they mark out each different polygon of Malbec, harvest the blocks separately and ferment separately – this is incredibly time consuming and labour intensive, but once done they’ll know their vineyard intimately and the resulting wines will set a new, delicious benchmark for the entire country. Exciting stuff!
I know this has dipped into a scientific chat, but I hope it gives you a little insight into the commitment Zuccardi are putting into the vineyard to reach their maximum potential. The best way to look at it is that us wine drinkers will be the winners in the end!
The results are already coming to the fore and back at HQ in Maipo I tasted some of the most exciting Malbec to date.
The last bit of my trip involved personally blending our new & exclusive Malbec ‘Fincas del Sur’ with the team and I’m chuffed with how it has turned out. We incorporated several different parcels of fruit from their vineyard plantings and crafted a style that is modern, fruit-driven and very much true to the team’s vision – to truly represent the greatest potential of land the wines sprung from.
I even took the time to jot down my tasting notes on their ‘premium releases’, including our exclusive Fincas del Sur…