“Stunning high-altitude wines; the brooding behemoth of the Zuccardi winery; the Piedra Infinita Cocina restaurant.” These are some of the reasons that third-generation-run Zuccardi Valle de Uco is ranked number one vineyard in the world for the second consecutive year, according to the World’s Best Vineyards 2020.
The second such list – which brings together an academy of industry insiders, journalists, wine aficionados and sommeliers from around the world to vote for their favourites they have visited over the past 12 months – was presented this afternoon, and it was a great haul for South American wineries, notching up 12 places overall.
Besides Zuccardi‘s Piedra Infinita topping the list, Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón in Maldonado took second place; VIK in Cachapoal Valley in Chile took tenth place, while Catena Zapata in Agrelo, Mendoza, was just left outside the top 10 to rank eleventh.
Argentina’s Bodega Salentein in Tupungato, Uco Valley, came in at 23; Uruguay’s Bodega Bouza in Canelones at 26; Chile’s Clos Apalta in Colchagua at 27; Chile’s Bodegas RE in Casablanca Valley at 32; Chile’s Viña Errázuriz in Aconcagua Valley at 35; Chile’s Viña Casas del Bosque in Casablanca at 40; Chile’s Viu Manent in Colchagua at 43; and Argentina’s Bodega Trapiche in Maipú at 50.
Zuccardi has long been on the radar for its impressive architecture; it picked up a Great Wine Capitals landscaping award in 2016 not long after it had opened and I also wrote about it for design magazine Wallpaper*.
The winery takes home the accolade of Best Vineyard in South America as well as being simply the best in the world today, and besides making incredible wines at the hands of viticultor Sebastián Zuccardi and a winemaking team headed by Laura Principiano, the tourism sector is run by his sister Julia Zuccardi, the extra virgin olive oil you drizzle over your dishes is crafted by his brother Miguel Zuccardi, many decisions at an operational level are taken by their parents José Alberto Zuccardi and Ana Amitrano, chef Matías Aldasoro and team cook for you, and winery sommelier Laura Sotelo guides you through tastings, to name just a few of the people involved in making this winery experience so very wonderful.
Those top 11 details:
1. Name of wine estate: Zuccardi Valle de Uco Country: Argentina 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
2. Name of wine estate: Bodega Garzón Country: Uruguay Wine region: Maldonado Standout points: Restaurant overseen by Francis Mallmann; pioneering premium Uruguayan wines Winemaker: Alberto Antonini Wine style: Atlantic-influenced New World whites and reds (especially Tannat)
4. Name of wine estate: Montes Country: Chile Wine region: Colchagua Valley Standout points: Francis Mallmann’s Fuegos de Apalta restaurant; the feng shui-ed Montes winery Winemaker: Aurelio Montes Wine style: Full-bodied New World reds
10. Name of wine estate: VIK Winery Country: Chile Wine region: Cachapoal Valley Standout points: Stunning Smiljan Radic-designed modernist winery; not one but TWO luxury spa retreats Winemaker: Cristián Vallejo Wine style: Bordeaux-style reds featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère
11.Name of wine estate: Catena Zapata Country: Argentina Wine region: Mendoza Standout points: The architectural tour de force that is the Mayan-inspired Catena Zapata winery; the 5,000ft altitude Adrianna vineyard [ed’s note, I believe this to be considerably higher in elevation at 1,450 metres above sea level] – the ‘grand cru of South America’ Winemaker: Alejandro Vigil Wine style: Chiselled, intensely flavoured Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from high altitudes