Image Courtesy of ZUCCARDI VALLE DE UCO / WINESELLERS LTD
Letting the land and fruit of Argentina’s Uco Valley speak through wine has been a painstaking process of research and study.
“Zuccardi Valle de Uco is Uco Valley,” says Sebastian Zuccardi, director of winemaking and third generation of the Zuccardi family. The winery has focused on elevating the Uco Valley region while positioning itself as one of its most iconic wine producers. The Zuccardis’ innovative spirit guided them to the Uco Valley in the early 2000s. Since then, they have explored it thoroughly, from a macro to a micro perspective. As a result, their winery is currently praised for its wines made with grapes from acclaimed appellations such as Altamira, Gualtallary and San Pablo.
“As a family,” says Zuccardi, “what we did well was create something with deep roots by first understanding the region, then purchasing land, learning more about the region and finally building a winery.” In 2009, Zuccardi and his team founded their research and development department, which diligently studied the diversity of soils and the climate. Over a decade later, their understanding of the valley is such that their wines have developed a solid identity. Zuccardi Valle de Uco is one of the leaders of a movement in which Malbec is no longer the star, but simply a vehicle to deliver the complexity and diversity of a place. A good example is one of its top Malbecs, Finca Canal Uco. Recognized by the quality and consistency of each vintage, this wine has recently made its way to La Place Bordeaux, becoming one of the very few New World wines to enter this fine wine marketplace.
The Zuccardi family began their journey in the wine business in 1963, when engineer Alberto Zuccardi, Sebastian Zuccardi’s grandfather, planted a few acres of vines in Maipú. The genesis of Zuccardi Valle de Uco was when Sebastian and his father, Jose Zuccardi, decided to put their last name on a wine made in their Santa Julia winery, Zuccardi Q. Then, while still an agronomy student in college, the youngest Zuccardi insisted the family invest in Uco Valley. He was excited about the characteristics of the region and the quality of the grapes.
“In wine, the most important decisions are long-term decisions,” Sebastian Zuccardi says. With that in mind, the family planted about 700 acres of vines, all of which are organically managed. In 2016, their state-of-the-art winery, Piedra Infinita, opened its doors. With that forward-thinking mindset and passion, they have been promoting this region, as well as Mendoza. That commitment has been noticed and rewarded. In March, Alberto Zuccardi received the title of Argentina’s brand ambassador from Argentina’s government. He is one of three professionals in the wine industry to be part of this program that promotes the country internationally through its unique culture, products, services and national talent.
What does the future hold for a young winery that has already achieved so much success? Faithful to their philosophy, the family will remain focused on the terroir, keeping an eye on the potential of white wines from their highest-altitude vineyards. In their opinion, Chardonnay is the white variety that, just like Malbec, can honestly translate the complexity of the Uco Valley from the vineyards to the glass.