COUNTRY/REGION: Argentina/Uco Valley.
GRAPE VARIETIES: 100% Malbec.
The 2016 José Zuccardi was produced with grapes (90% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) from Altamira and Gualtallary in the Valle de Uco. This is the continuation of the old Z bottling, but here the wine is aged mostly in 2,500-liter oak vats rather than in smaller barriques. There are herbal notes reminiscent of green tea leaves, spices and berries. The palate is serious and has chalky tannins, as they select grapes from places in the Valle de Uco that have limestone soils. It seems like they have found the way ahead for this wine in 2016; it's fine, precise and elegant. 40,000 bottles were filled in August 2018.
Zuccardi keeps working the origin of their wines, aiming to show the place in their wines while looking for balance. They're also simplifying things, doing less in the winery and more in the vineyards.
I tasted 2016, a cool and wet year when they learned a lot: the wines have less alcohol and are better in the Valle de Uco than in the classical zone of Mendoza. For Zuccardi, it might be their finest vintage to date, where the top of the range really excels; the Finca Piedra Infinita really blew me away. 2017 was warmer and, together with 2016, very low yielding. 2018 was cooler than 2017; the wines are fresher, and it's a more homogeneous year. Most people talk about a classical Mendoza vintage. I didn't taste anything from the 2019 vintage, which was dry and cool (with temperatures almost as cold as 2016)—something unusual, as the vintages tend to be warm and dry or cold and wet. So, let's wait for the 2019s, but in the meantime, there are some exceptional wines in the current offering - Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate, 31st Oct 2019.