Zuccardi Aluvional Paraje Altamira Malbec 2016


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“The 2016 Aluvional Paraje Altamira has a subtle and elegant nose, nuanced and with very fine, chalky tannins, with grip and texture. It comes from the limestone-rich soils in their vineyards. It fermented in concrete with wild yeasts, with a higher proportion of full clusters than in warmer vintages (something they learned in 2016; before that, they thought they needed darker stems from higher ripeness) and 30% of the wine matured in barrique. It has structure and is very textured—the characteristic of this part of Altamira—and it has a savory, almost salty sensation in the finish. 10,400 bottles produced. Drink: 2020-2032. 96 points

Zuccardi keeps working the origin of their wines, aiming to show the place in their wines while looking for balance. They’re also simplifying things, doing less in the winery and more in the vineyards.

I tasted 2016, a cool and wet year when they learned a lot: the wines have less alcohol and are better in the Valle de Uco than in the classical zone of Mendoza. For Zuccardi, it might be their finest vintage to date, where the top of the range really excels; the Finca Piedra Infinita really blew me away. 2017 was warmer and, together with 2016, very low yielding. 2018 was cooler than 2017; the wines are fresher, and it’s a more homogeneous year. Most people talk about a classical Mendoza vintage. I didn’t taste anything from the 2019 vintage, which was dry and cool (with temperatures almost as cold as 2016)—something unusual, as the vintages tend to be warm and dry or cold and wet. So, let’s wait for the 2019s, but in the meantime, there are some exceptional wines in the current offering.”

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (245)