Familia Zuccardi Concreto Malbec, Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, Mendoza
Winemaker and third-generation of the Zuccardi family, Sebastian, has tried to focus soil sourced tannins experienced on the tongue, rather than those on the gums which come from extraction methods in winemaking and the oak selection, hence the concrete.
Made from 100% Malbec grown in the calcareous soils of Paraje Altamira, 1100m above sea level in the Uco Valley. The wine is made using whole bunch fermentation with indigenous yeasts before being store in concrete, hence the name ‘Concreto.’
1st vintage was 2014. Aims to avoid fruit sweetness. 10 cm of soil over stones, and it is difficult to limit alcohol on such a stony soil. All whole bunch and all fermented in concrete, as the name suggests. Always bottled and launched early. But it ages very well, apparently (so my drink dates are rather a wild guess). Sebastian Zuccardi talks about chalky tannins that are expressive -- chalky on the tongue rather than drying round the gums, explaining the difference as follows: tannins on the tongue are derived from the soil whereas tannins round the gums are due to extraction. He believes that the use of concrete 'amplifies the message of the soil'.
Black core, purple rim. Smokily reductive and all about texture not aroma. Amazing finesse with zero seduction. Really standoffish but paradoxically enticing because it appears to be trying so little to seduce the drinker. And therefore very seductive. Long and so fresh.
17.5/20 points, JancisRobinson.com
From the less fertile sector of the Piedra Infinita vineyard,this has a delightful core of red fruits, surrounded by firm yet elegant tannins and refreshing tones of violets. A pure expression of Malbec growing in chalk. Unoaked.
96 points, Patricio Tapia, Decanter
It's simply unbelievable how nuanced and insinuating this wine is, with austerity but unfurling layers and layers as the wine sits in the glass, with tons of aromatic herbs reminiscent of the landscape and the smell of the countryside where the plants grow. It has a linear and symmetrical palate with precision and purity. This is worth more than it costs! This has to be the best Concreto to date.
95+ points, Wine Advocate (June 2018)