Familia Zuccardi – Valle del Uco, Mendoza
The Zuccardi family are one of Mendoza’s most important premium wine producers and are at the forefront of exploring and understanding Argentina’s most exciting new terroirs.
Nowhere in Argentina is there better potential to produce top quality wines right now than in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at altitudes ranging from 1,000 – 1,500 mts above sea level.
The Andes mountains shield the Uco Valley from most of the rain coming from the Pacific Ocean to the west, meaning that this area is very dry, almost desert-like, and has major swings in temperature between day and night. The cool night time temperatures are important for retaining freshness and acidity in the wines, whilst the warm days and high altitude vineyards give impressive fruit concentration and structure.
Within the Uco Valley, 2 subzones in particular stand out for their special terroirs and exceedingly high wine quality – Paraje Altamira and San Pablo.
Zuccardi’s San Pablo vineyards are situated 1500mts above sea level, which by European standards is extremely high for vine growing! The higher the altitude, the lower the average annual temperature, and this subzone has a correspondingly low annual average temperature of only 15C.
The soil here is sandy on top with fairly large sized chalky/limestone rocks underneath.
Their Paraje Altamira vineyards are a little lower at 1,100 metres altitude, where the average annual temperature reaches 19C. What is unusual here is the multitude of amazingly large calcareous rocks in the soil, which make it very difficult for the vine roots to penetrate the soil but give a real sense of minerality to the wines.
In the winery
Winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi is one of Argentina’s leading “terroir-pioneers” and he started the “Poligonos” project in 2014 with the clear goal of expressing the unique flavours and characteristics of his different terroirs in his wines.
Zuccardi’s recently-built, state of the art winery called Finca Piedra infinita is based in Paraje Altamira. This dramatically beautiful building was built entirely using concrete and local stones and it literally blends in with the countryside around it.
All 3 Poligonos wines are made using absolutely no oak, as oak masks the personality of the terroir. Instead they are fermented – using only natural yeasts coming from the vineyards – and matured in cone-shaped, cement amphorae, which give the wines beautiful purity of flavour and a silky smooth texture.
Zuccardi’s Altamira winery was recently awarded the prestigious title of “the World’s Best Vineyard in 2019” and offers one of the most memorable wine tourism experiences in the world! It has a fantastic restaurant serving local food specialities from the Uco Valley.