At the beginning of the year, Argentine wine received great news: a Malbec from Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, obtained the perfect score from The Wine Advocate. It was Zuccardi`s Finca Piedra Infinita 2016, a Malbec that Luis Gutiérrez, taster for South America of the publication created by Robert Parker, stamped no more and no less than 100 points.
According to Sebastián Zuccardi, creator of this wine with grapes from the homonymous estate in Paraje Altamira – where the best winery in the world is also located, according to The World’s Best Vineyards – Zuccardi`s Finca Piedra Infinita 2016 “combines the history of the place, of a producer and of a particular vintage ”. The winemaker would expand: “I think they have valued the uniqueness, precision, finesse and symmetry that we achieve in this wine, which summarizes our search for the expression of the place.”
Regarding the meaning of these first 100 points for the winery, Zuccardi opportunely told us: “We received the news with joy and at the same time with great responsibility. We take these 100 points as recognition of the work that my family started more than a generation ago, with a strong commitment to the place and the courage to make wines with a look of authenticity and trust. I’m mainly happy for the family and for the team. This is the result of how we live, what we do and have bet on the long term ”.
Today, after a short wait, the wine reaches world markets. We have some stock, as I type 7 cases (Under Bond @ LCB VT), one for me and six for sale only. So please ask for the current price and availability.
To speak of Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Malbec is to refer to the farm that gives it its name and life. Planted in 2009, this vineyard is located in the heart of the alluvial fan of the Tunuyán river and expresses the typical diversity of the calcareous soils of Paraje Altamira. Viticulture on this farm is practiced with the main attention to the type of vineyard, alluvial and shallow soils that show a sandy texture on the surface, while large stones covered with calcium carbonate are found underground.
The grapes used to make it since 2012, the year of the first harvest, come from a selection of plots with shallower soils where less eroded stones with a lime-like coating predominate.
Regarding the 2016 harvest, it is worth noting that it was a cold vintage with a long maturation process and low yields. In this way, the fruits obtained were not only of high quality but also retained a very unique freshness. Subsequently, 30% of the wine was aged in used 500-liter oak barrels and the remaining 70% in concrete basins.
To preserve the character of the year and the place, Sebastián Zuccardi made this wine in concrete truncated conical basins without epoxy coating. In the 2016 vintage, only 6,400 bottles were produced.
Why 100 points?
At the time of the news, Gutiérrez wrote in his report on Argentine wines that Zuccardi “has made remarkable progress in quality since I began to review the wines of Argentina, in 2014. His wines have shown better with each harvest. 2016 was the decisive year, when the precision of his work reached unprecedented levels ”.
For this reason, regarding Zuccardi`s Finca Piedra Infinita 2016, he maintained that “it has reached a level of stratospheric precision. The symmetry and elegance of this vintage is truly captivating. Everything seems to be in its right place, there is a great harmony, its aromas are clean and pure and its liquid chalk texture is marked. It combines power and elegance, energy and finesse. I think it is the best wine that Zuccardi has produced so far and it has earned him a triple digit score. ”
The rating system used by Gutiérrez is the one that Parker developed in the mid-1970s for his publication The Wine Advocate (WA). Their reports use a scale of 50 to 100 points awarded based on the quality and style that reflects the region where the wine comes from. A score of 100 means that the wine is extraordinary.
These ratings, popularly known as Parker Points, shaped a wine scoring system that today has a significant influence on consumers around the world.
There has been a great deal of buzz around this because the wine has received a very rare 100 points from Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate. Gutiérrez has only ever offered three 100-point scores to wines from South America, so this a landmark accolade for Zuccardi, announcing them on the world stage as one of the great winemaking families.
Finca Piedra Infinita is a truly incredible vineyard in Mendoza (in the photo*), identified for the unique terroir that had never been cultivated by human hands before Zuccardi. The family have invested heavily in research, including incredibly detailed soil and topography mapping. This has allowed them to analyse the dramatic and significant diversity of soil type, composition, depth and structure within the small vineyard has been and ensure each vine has a suitably home.
‘They use almost 40 different components to make this wine from small plots within the vineyard’ – Luis Gutiérrez
These efforts have clearly paid dividends as Gutiérrez rates this sensational Malbec a perfect 100 points, commenting:
‘There is power and elegance, energy and finesse. This is a really outstanding wine that summarizes the hard work at Zuccardi in the last few years’
Only 6,400 bottles where produced of 2016 vintage!