Argentine Malbec: Old dog, new tricks19th February, 2014 by Lucy Shaw - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3
Sebastian Zuccardi, who recently became responsible for all of the wines in the Familia Zuccardi portfolio, agrees with Pelizzatti that Altamira holds great promise for Argentina: “We need to stop trying to sell Malbec as a commodity. The terroir differences are huge between the regions – I believe Gualtallary and Altamira are the best sub-regions in Mendoza for Malbec due to the minerality their chalky soils impart in the wines,” he says. Rothhardt, meanwhile, believes story telling is key to engaging consumers about terroir. “I’m trying to teach our customers about the terroir differences across Argentina and push the regionality message as it’s an important story to tell. I’m never sure how much of it sticks, but it’s crucial that we do it.”
With a new and enthused troupe of winemakers emerging on the scene, Argentina’s wine future is incredibly bright. There’s a genuine sense of camaraderie in Mendoza, with established wineries renting tank space to
emerging winemakers seeking international acclaim. But while they continue to fine-tune their Malbec offerings, they also need to prove that the country is more than just a one-trick pony.
Zuccardi is doing much to dispel this myth via his regional Bonarda blend Emma, named after his grandmother, and a blanc de blancs traditional method sparkler that spends five years on its lees. His friend and fellow trailblazer Alejandro Vigil, chief winemaker at Catena Zapata, is doing the same by flying the flag for Cabernet Franc, which he believes is “the future” for Argentina, in two single vineyard offerings, while plantings of Petit Verdot among the country’s more cavalier estates are on the rise and Cabernet Sauvignon is being shown increasing care and attention.
Crozier is optimistic about what lies ahead for Argentina: “A new generation of winemakers spearheaded by Zuccardi, Vigil and Matias Michelini of Passionate Wine are shaping the future. Having learnt from the likes of Daniel Pi and Roberto de la Mota, they are throwing themselves into what they do with astounding energy and fearlessness,” he enthuses. Argentina, it seems, is just scratching the surface of its potential.