The new face of Agentina white wines

Montreal Times - - News -

When you think Ar­gen­tinian wine, you think Mal­bec first, an amaz­ing piece of beef sec­ond. It's just one of those cliche things.Ar­gentina is the largest ex­porter of South Amer­i­can wine, built on a rep­u­ta­tion of not only high qual­ity, but also the pas­sion­ate link wine pro­duc­ers make be­tween their favourite pro­tein and their favourite grape va­ri­ety. Fire up the BBQ, it's time to work some magic. Reds have al­ways over­shad­owed whites by a large mar­gin

There is also a ques­tion of style. Un­til re­cently,Ar­gen­tinian whites were flabby and over oaked try­ing to imi­tate an oaky style of Cal­i­for­nia Chardon­nay. I guess that's why I never paid too much at­ten­tion to them. But there is a wind of change. Lately,Ar­gen­tinian wine­mak­ers are look­ing for higher al­ti­tudes to plant bet­ter grape va­ri­eties.

Tor­rontes has al­ways been the sig­na­ture white grape of Ar­gentina. Highly scented, it's a bou­quet party of fruit and flow­ers, bring­ing to mind fresh mus­cat ta­ble grapes, apri­cots, honey and orange blos­som. In the mouth, it also de­liver smiles. In con­trast to many of to­day's in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar white wines blended from so­called aro­matic grape va­ri­eties, tor­rontes tends to be bone-dry. Think moscato with­out the su­gar.

There are some great white blends be­gin­ning to ap­pear. Su­per Blends, they take pos­i­tive at­tributes from dif­fer­ent sources and get bet­ter. These blends are white va­ri­eties from the same re­gion and/or from dif­fer­ent prov­inces com­ing to­gether in a bot­tle.

The Zuc­cardi fam­ily are one of those winer­ies mak­ing those su­per blends. Es­tab­lished in 1963, they have con­trib­uted a great deal to Ar­gen­tinian mod­ern wine­mak­ing.Al­berto Zuc­cardi, en­gi­neer by train­ing, planted the first acre of vines in Maipú, Men­doza. Since then, the Zuc­cardi’s has con­tinue to grow and de­velop po­si­tion­ing them­selves as an im­por­tant bench­mark for Ar­gentina's wine­mak­ing in­dus­try.

Re­cently, I had the oc­ca­sion to taste the port­fo­lio of Zuc­cardi wines available in Que­bec. The in­vi­ta­tion was a cour­tesy of their im­porter Elixirs Vins Spir­itueux. Jose Al­berto Zuc­cardi, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor, led the tast­ing. I was pleas­antly sur­prised as the wines showed less oak and more fruit and min­er­al­ity. I will dis­cuss the whites on this col­umn and next week the reds.

Presently, Zuc­cardi is led by Se­bas­tian, third gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily, who is work­ing in front of a young agri­cul­tural and wine­mak­ing team, re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing wines with the high­est stan­dards of qual­ity in the Uco Val­ley.

The range of wine con­sists of:

Icons - Tito, Emma Zuc­cardi, Zeta, Alu­vo­nial and Fin­cas.

Serie A - The Ar­gen­tine Se­ries which dis­play the rich­ness of the soil and mi­cro­cli­mate.

Q - The range that arises from the prac­tice of mark­ing the wine with a 'Q' for Qual­ity.

Since 2008 the winery has in­vested in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, ded­i­cated to the study of the ter­roir and the dif­fer­ent vari­ables that af­fect wine qual­ity. The ob­jec­tive, in the words of Se­bas­tian, is "not to seek per­fect wines, but those who ex­press the place, the re­gion". Another pro­ducer who makes fine whites is Bode­gas Piedra Ne­gra. Two well-known French wine­mak­ers, Jac­ques and Fran­cois Lur­ton, came to Men­doza in 1992 to ap­ply their knowl­edge to craft stel­lar Ar­gen­tine wines. With a rich back­ground of wine­mak­ing be­gin­ning in the 1600s, this is the fam­ily's fourth winery, but the first in Ar­gentina, lo­cated as well in the Uco Val­ley.

Lur­ton Broth­ers

Se­bas­tian and Al­berto

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