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Something special is going on in the Southern Hemisphere. As the country’s Malbecs are enjoying international acclaim, observers have noted the bright, irrepressible energy coming from Zuccardi’s cellars. This surging potential is evident in the dark, sturdy and regal ZETA, a highly accomplished wine that captures the powerful tension possible in Andean viticulture. This could be Argentina’s version of Lokoya!
About the wine
Young Sebastian Zuccardi has turned Argentina on its head and unleashed a whole new level of quality never before found in Mendoza. At every level, Sebastian’s boundary-pushing techniques have put the global wine scene on notice. For a taste of his brilliance, ZETA is his blistering Malbec-Cabernet blend that rides roughshod over wines triple the price. It’s a newly-minted Argentine Icon and incredible value for the cellar in a time when ageworthy wines cost as much as a mortgage!
Winemaker: Sebastian Zuccardi
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
- 96 pts: James Suckling
- 95 pts: Tim Atkin
- 92 pts: Wine Advocate
- 4.3/5.0: Vivino Users (5500+ ratings, All Vintages)
- 4.1/5.0: Vivino Users (245 ratings)
Grapes: 87% Malbec, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: La Consulta (Malbec), Gualtallary (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Cooperage: 12 months in French Oak barrels
About the winery
They’re one of Argentina’s largest family-owned wineries, and also one of the most cutting edge. With over 40 years of experience, the Zuccardis have mastered the traditional zones. Now they’ve turned their sights towards Mendoza’s cooler appellations, seeking to harness even longer growing seasons for maximum density in their fruit. In the winery, this remarkably ambitious estate constantly experiments in the pursuit of perfect ripeness and aging. The newest generation, headed by Sebastian Zuccardi, has made a breakthrough by using foudre, the traditional large French barrels as well as concrete – the result is a Malbec blend that is deeply fleshed-out with the most alive and vibrant fruit flavors. Zuccardi has found a way to get remarkably plush, full-fat flavors out of their innovative approach.
About the vineyards
The Zuccardis use a unique approach in the vineyard – they train their vines in the “parral” method which creates high arches out of each vine. These grapes get excellent shading from the extreme Andean sunshine, which turbo-charges the color and intensity of Malbec grapes. By using “parral”, the Zuccardis can stretch their season even longer, achieving greater complexity in their grapes than those who are forced to harvest earlier. Their Malbec comes from the La Consulta zone in San Carlos, at the steep elevation of 3600 feet. Here the Malbec grows rich and silken from the clay and silt soils. The Cabernet hails from Gualtallary, one of Mendoza’s Grand Cru sites, producing highly structured Cabernet from rocky, calcareous soils. The tannin and acidity generated by this desirable land perfectly matches the unctuous Consulta Malbec.
About the winemaker, Sebastian Zuccardi
The entire wine world is smitten with young Sebastian Zuccardi. That’s because the world is watching as a budding genius discovers himself and helps create the future for an entire country’s wine. Imagine the way people felt when they first tasted a Charlie Wagner wine (Caymus) or a wine from Michel Rolland – the brilliance is immediately apparent – and it’s different than anything that’s come before. With his drive to secure the frontiers of Argentine viticulture, he’s shown he’s ready to do anything to improve the wines at his family’s august estate. He’s both a big-picture disruptor as well as a micro-scale tinkerer, and every little experiment gets him closer to perfect wine. Witness the change during Sebastian’s tenure: Zuccardi is pushing ever closer to 100 points, with him securing a preposterous 17 90+ ratings in a recent issue of the Wine Advocate. There’s a breadth and depth to the excellence of his output and he’s not done yet. This is one to start collecting Right Now.
96 points, James Suckling
"A solid Super Mendoza wine with firm, polished tannins and wonderful depth. Full and compressed with a long finish. I really appreciate the cool fruit and hints of spices and black pepper. A blend of mostly malbec with some cabernet sauvignon. From La Consulta and Tupungato respectively."
95 points, Tim Atkin
"Zeta combines Malbec from La Consulta with 13% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gualtallary, with a touch of whole bunches and ageing in large wooden foudres. The Cabernet gives the wine tannic depth and focus, allowing the Malbec to show its violet and lavender perfume and sweet blueberry fruit."
92 points, Wine Advocate
"The 2012 Zeta is a blend of mostly Malbec from Altamira and some 10-15% of Cabernet Sauvignon from Gualtallary. This was previously a very traditional wine. However, the 2012 has seen a dramatic change. It used to be quite ripe and marked by new oak and now it's basically the opposite. Even in this warm vintage there is very good freshness (it has 14.5% alcohol) and only a small percentage of new oak is used with the rest kept in used barrels and cement vats. This might have extra complexity from the Cabernet that also adds backbone to the Malbec. Sebastian likes Cabernet from Gualtallary, because it retains the freshness. Quite a change even for the 2011, though surprisingly enough Sebastian tells me he considers 2012 a fresher vintage than 2011."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
“Zuccardi keeps going from strength to strength with their top-level wines. They have almost finished building their impressive all-cement winery in Altamira where they designed the cellar according to the vineyards they have (and not the other way 'round). Young Sebastián Zuccardi is relentlessly searching for cool-climate places (I visited and tasted some experimental wine produced from San Pablo in the Uco Valley), refocusing on Bonarda, which he's planting even in Altamira and the pure expression of the grape without any make-up as you can see in the new unoaked bottling Concreto. One of the top names from Argentine wine.”