To meet Sebastian Zuccardi in person was worth the trip to New York; as one
of the younger winemakers in Mendoza, he has developed a keen interest in studying the influences of terroir in Mendoza. His family had noticed that the same grape from different vineyards produced strikingly different styles but nobody could explain why.
Sebastian started a scientific geological study of the terrain and using a studiously prepared power point presentation, he demonstrated how the different vineyard sites originated and why their soil compositions were
different. Although altitude was a factor, the most important variable was soil composition.
The event was one of a series of presentations that Sebastian did around the US. Although the focus was on the Valle de Uco, the concept could be applied anywhere in the world. Sebastian noted that it took Burgundy hundreds of years to discover the best vineyard plots but with this technology, wineries can condense the learning curve into months instead of years.
Here are my comments on the wines Sebastian presented:
1) we tasted 2 Bonarda, one from Santa Rosa that was juicy and less tannic, and one from San José, much higher in altitude with much more tannin and acid
2) we tasted 5 Malbec by region: Agrelo, La Consulta (my favorite of the 5), Vista Flores, Altamira and Gualtallary. All of these wines are blended with each other, not individually;
3) Zuccardi Aluvional: La Consulta (my favorite of the entire tasting, fermented in concrete vats without epoxy lining) & El Peral Tupungato (n.b. both of these wines retail for $90!)
4) Malbec by soil type: 2 tasted: super-calcerous and calcerous.
If you teach wine classes or have a keen interest in his research, you can download the pdf of Sebastian’s presentation which I highly recommend.