Zuccardi Botanico Chardonnay 2021


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“The new white 2021 Botánico comes from their two vineyards in the Monasterio part of Gualtallary, the informal division of the zone (still not approved due to bureaucratic problems with the name), and is a lieu-dit or paraje wine. This is very austere, sharp and mineral, reminiscent of a Chablis. This was harvested very early, almost one month earlier than the Fósil from San Pablo, as Gualtallary ripens earlier. It fermented and matured 70% in concrete eggs and 30% in used 500-liter oak barrels; but there is no aromatic or flavor influence from the oak, as they want to keep the wine as transparent as possible with the character from the soils—limestone and caliche calcareous stone. This has 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.23 and 7.36 grams of acidity. It’s clean, precise, subtle, elegant, transparent, balanced and symmetric ,with purity and clarity. It has a shaper palate with effervescent sensation of chalk with lemon juice, with lots of energy. This should develop nicely in bottle. I’d like to have a time machine to see what this does at age 15… 5,000 bottles were filled in December 2021. I had the chance to taste the still unbottled 2022, and it felt every bit as good as this. Drink: 2022-2029. 97 points

The Zuccardi family has eight vineyards in the Valle de Uco; they are planting 35 hectares of white in San Pablo, one of the best places for whites for them, and they keep buying more land and vineyards there, working mostly organically, but they have to find a solution for the ants. So, there’s no certification in any of the wines there; it’s on the way—no herbicides or any systemic treatments—but right now they cannot certify the vineyard. They have around 300 hectares of vines planted in smaller (40- to 50-hectare) vineyards and produce 1.7 million bottles. But they focus on vineyard work in Altamira, San Pablo and Gualtallary. They are gradually abandoning the 500-liter barrels and moving more to large oak foudres of 2,500 and 5,000 liters. Polígonos are village wines, Aluvional are lieu-dit (paraje) wines, and then there are the single vineyard wines—and even sub plots!

For Sebastián Zuccardi, 2019 and 2022 have been excellent and cooler years (2019 the best), 2018 and 2021 are classical (not too warm and not too cold, close to 2022) and 2020 and 2017 warm years. 2016 was exceptionally cold and rainy. The wines are phenomenal, the work they do is impressive, and they are at the very top of the pyramid of the quality producers from Argentina. The level of precision here is amazing; they might very well be the finest producer in Argentina at the moment. The Malbecs from Piedra Infinita are very transparent with the condition of the year and the soils, and tasting them together is fascinating.

They started working more seriously on their whites around 2013, and this time, they presented three more whites—one Semillon and two Chardonnays. They consider 2021 a very good year for them and superb for whites, when they have produced some of their best whites to date.”

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (11/22)