AT A GLANCE:
THE WORLD’S BEST VINEYARD & THE BEST VINEYARD IN SOUTH AMERICA
Name of wine estate: Zuccardi Valle de Uco
Wine region: Uco Valley
Standout points: Stunning high-altitude wines; the brooding behemoth of the Zuccardi winery; the Piedra Infinita Cocina restaurant
Winemaker: Sebastián Zuccardi
Wine style: Terroir-driven Malbec expressing the high-altitude limestone terroir of the Uco Valley
Gem of the Andes
Topping the World’s Best Vineyards list two years in a row, Zuccardi Valle de Uco in Mendoza remains one of the most dazzling wine experiences bar none, with Andean scenery as unimprovable as its architectural vision of a winery and Sebastián Zuccardi’s precision-made, high-altitude wines merging into a memorably perfect whole. Located at around 1,100m above sea level on the alluvial plain of the Tunuyán River, the Zuccardi estate vineyards express the characteristic diversity of the chalky soils of Paraje Altamira.
Since the year 2000, third-generation winegrower Sebastián has maintained a singular focus on elaborating wines with the unmistakable stamp of the valley’s terroir. This he has achieved through the continuous exploration of the diverse terroirs of the Uco Valley, and through precise and sensitive work both in the vineyard and the winery. The Zuccardi estate vineyards, planted with Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Bonarda, and Tempranillo on heterogeneous soils, are characterised by the presence of large calcareous rocks that, in particular, give a distinctive concentrated yet chiselled character to the family’s Malbec.
Gorge on wonders
A visit to Zuccardi begins in the vineyard, where expert guides explain in detail the work done to express the Uco Valley terroir. The tour then moves on to the architectural statement of a winery. Constructed with rocks from the Piedra Infinita vineyard, and water and sand from the nearby Tunuyán River, this winery contrives to be part of the surrounding landscape. Inside, visitors get the chance to learn about the complete winemaking process, see the amphorae room and vaulted barrel room before enjoying one of four guided tastings under the church-like cellar dome. Post-tasting, what better way to cap your visit than with a four-course lunch at the Piedra Infinita Cocina restaurant, which offers a refined seasonal menu as well as recommended wines for pairing – and views of the ancient Andes that are a wonder to behold.