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Familia Zuccardi

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Argentina.

Zuccardi's Santa Julia range is quite widely available in the UK, though many of the Zuccardi wines are now available in the 'on-trade' only, that is restaurants and bars. Several of the wines tasted here are also very small, limited release batches as part of the 'Innovations' and 'Textual' programmes which are more experimental. Thierrys is UK Agent for the off-trade, and Alliance Wines for the on-trade.

white wines

Santa Julia Innovation Verdelho 2007
Very nice aromatics with chilled melon and apple, and nice acidity and zesty fruit. 86/100

Santa Julia Viognier 2007
Bright, spangly, pear and gently honeyed nose with confectionery aromas. The palate has plenty of life and verve, in a really nice commercial wine with lovely crisp appeal. £5.99, Thresher. 86/100

Zuccardi Pinot Grigio/Torrontes 2007
Torrontes comes through powerfully, with a fat, quite exotic star fruit and mango quality. The palate has a very nice, crisp pear and apple character, with some lemon zest cut and thrust, and a tantalising point of difference. £5.99, Oddbins. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Chardonnay/Viognier 2007
Nicely honeyed and sweet-fruited nose, with some floral character, and plenty of passionfruit and melon aromatics. The palate is very fresh and very concentrated, with a cool apple-fruited quality and very nice acid balance. Quite longs and intriguing. £7.99, On-trade and independents. 87/100

Zuccardi Q Chardonnay 2006
Very elegant nose, with a touch of honey and plenty of ripe, pear and star fruit character. There's a very nice freshness and juiciness, with just enough creamy oak. Plenty of orangy acidity and zest and life about it. £9.99, Gaucho Wine Boutique. 88/100

Zuccardi Torrontes Tardio 2007
Lovely peach, apricot and floral nose, with delightful fresh, shimmering sweetness and enough juicy tangerine acidity. Oddbins. 88/100

rosé wines

Santa Julia Syrah Rose 2007
Bright cherry fruit, with a touch of paint box and delicate appeal. Lovely fruit, with a dry raspberry quality that floods the palate, but stays light and focused. Lovely. £4.99, Somerfield. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec Rose 2007
Quite subdued, with very fine floral and cherry aromatics and a touch of creamy raspberry. Very fine and mouth-watering palate too, with plenty of fruit sweetness, and just a nip of tannin to join acidity in keeping this fresh. £6.99. 87/100

red wines

Santa Julia Organic Bonarda Sangiovese 2007
Quite closed, but a meaty ripeness comes through, with briar and a touch of mint. On the palate the fruit is quite dry and a touch inky, but this has plenty of presence and life and makes for savoury, balanced drinking. £6.99, Waitrose. 87/100

Zuccardi Touriga Nacional 2006
Meaty, meat stock and plum fruit with lots of smoky blackberry fruit. On the palate a touch baked, but there is some really nice quality here, and quite a meaty, dry, food-friendly character. £5.99, Oddbins. 87/100

Zuccardi Reserva Bonarda 2006
Slightly closed, with some baked plum and earthy fruit, with plenty of rich, ripe, mouth-filling fruit. Quite high cherryish acidity that freshens up the slightly baked fruit. £6.99, Oddbins. 86/100

Zuccardi Tannat Exclusive Parcel 2006
Tight, nutty, closed and firm black fruit. Some tiny floral notes, with a great meaty core of fruit. On the palate there is a bit of inky extraction, but it has very nice, tight, very focused fruit that powers through the mid-palate with huge tannins and good acidity. £8.99, Oddbins. 88/100

Zuccardi Serie A Bonarda 2006
Rich, deep, concentrated nose of deep fruit and plummy, slightly baked plum pie. Earthy and concentrated. Palate is nicely juicy and slick, with ripe tannins and a certain freshness, but it rather falls away through the mid palate with perhaps not enough fruit, before spiciness takes over. £7.99. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2006
Quite a deep plummy nose, with not a lot of the floral elegance of the grape, and a slightly suppressed aromatic. Palate has quite good fruit and a composed, compact personality. Doesn't totally sing for me, but a nice, solid wine. £7.99. 86/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2005
Deep, rich, quite animal nose, quite earthy and sinewy. Plenty of sweet, ripe, very earthy and muscular fruit, with depth and a glossy sheen of oak, and plenty of power married to a certain succulence. £9.99. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2002
Plush, nutty and spicy with masses of sweet, ripe, very plump and ripe berry fruits. The oak seems reined back, but it adds lots of substance beneath the fruit, and the cherryish brightness of the fruit and acidity cuts through nicely. A very nice style, with balance and length. 89/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2000
Slightly more refined on the nose, with gentle cedary qualities, offering lots of mocha and spice, but a huge depth of berry fruit. Plush, velvety wine with lovely silky texture and a refined, racy character to the finish that balances the sumptuous fruit and oak. 89/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 1997
Nicely earthy nose, with bloody notes and some tobacco. Lots of rich, ripe berry fruits, with super ripe mint and blackcurrant. Lovely toast and chocolaty mouthfeel. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2005
The kirsch and Parma violet aromatics are lovely, with tight, glossy, fine grained tannins and a very liquoricy, tight, quite aggressive streak of acidity and extraction. Imposing and powerful. £11.99. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2004
Brightly focused, with a touch of florality to bold, creamy black fruit. Nice undertow of fudge and spice, with slick, liquoricy concentration and really nice power and length through the concentrated tannins and acids. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2002
a touch of briar and sweet fruit, with earth and a certain bloodiness. Nice, but perhaps lacks a bit of plushness and charm? 87/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2000
Oxidised note and bloodiness, but holding on to fruit well on palate. 87/100

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Much more expressive than the Serie A, with a touch of violet and full, ripe, cherry and plum fruit. The fruit on the palate has terrific sweetness and ripeness on the palate, with a really juicy bite of acidity and huge, spicy tannin and oak structure. A big wine, but convincing. £9.99, Waitrose. 90/100

Zuccardi Textual Caladoc 2006
Four wines from the experimental programme, each of which has a very limited release. The Caladoc (a French cross of Grenache and Malbec) is rich, dark, with inky black flavours and juiciness. 86/100

Zuccardi Textual Marselan 2006
Another French cross, this time between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, produces a smoky and slightly reduced wine, but with a grippy, liquoricy presence on the palate. £8.99 if on sale. 87/100

Zuccardi Textual Carmenère 2006
Chile's signature grape is given the Zuccardi treatment, to produce a wine with lots of smoky bacon and thick black fruit richness. Very appealing and deeply fruity. 86/100

Zuccardi Textual Ancellota 2006
A variety mainly grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, I found this to have a slightly wet-dog, furry character, perhaps hinting at brett, with a slight tendency to inkiness. Not my favourite. 85/100

Zuccardi Zeta 2004
70% Malbec, 30% Tempranillo, aged 24 months in French oak for Malbec, American for Tempranillo. Big, plush, velvety richness with lots of fat, sweet, powerful fruit and vanilla. On the palate this has masses of spice and tight, controlled structure. Masses of tightness but perhaps a bit hot and spicy. Shows great promise and certainly makes an impact. £24.99. 91/100

Zuccardi Malamado
Fortified 'Port'. Nice stewed fruit, tea and some floral aromatics, with a lovely chewy black fruit and perfect chocolaty fruit. 88/100

sparkling wines

Santa Julia Sparkling Brut
Charmat method 55% Pinot, with Chardonnay and a little Viognier. Bright, racy nose, with a palate that has plenty of fruit sweetness, and a nice herbal quality. Quite full and rich, and good fun. £7.99. 86/100

Santa Julia Organic Sparkling Chardonnay
Bright, apple and crisp, creamy fruit. Nice crisp and racy lemon and apple fruit, very racy and some finesse here. £7.99. 86/100

Santa Julia Sparkling Rosé
Bright zingy almost iridescent colour, with Very zingy cherry and raspberry fruit, with a bit of herbal edge and a fine cut of acidity. 10g/l of sugar. £7.99. 85/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Viognier 2005
Traditional method from Jose Alberto's son Sebastian. Bright, aromatic, has the pear and peachy Viognier character. Lovely roundness and very good small bubbles, with mousse rolling on tongue. Delicious. $24 US. 87/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Chardonnay 2004
Yeasty, full nose, with very fine fruit and a delicate orange and pear character. Lots of life and delicious fruit ripeness. Very racy, with pithy grapefruit and lemon acidity. Very good. $24 US. 88/100

Alma 4 barrel fermented Sparkling Chardonnay 2003
Has a nutty, almond note and plenty of herbal character. Very tight and focused, with lots of ripe, bright quite crisp fruit. Excellent lemony acidity and a real cut. $24 US. 90/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose 2005
Very delicate strawberry and raspberry fruit, with a creaminess. Palate is dry and racy, with very delicate fruit and lovely crispness. A very nice, savoury wine with a bite of grapefruit pith acidity. $24 US. 89/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Bonarda 2004
Earthy, deep, a spice and cinnamon note with berry fruit. The fruit is quite grippy and full, with an edge of tannins to earthy red fruits and good acidity keeping this appearing dry yet fruity and crisp. Great fun. $24 US. 88/100

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