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by Fred McMillin
for October 3, 2000

 

From South America...
Big Wine, Small Price


Prologue

Jose Zuccardi

Santa Julia proprietor,
Jose Zuccardi.

U.C.-Davis text book: "Argentina's leading premium-quality variety is the Malbec."

Wall St. Journal: "The Malbec grape is being used to make some very fine wines in Argentina that are just on the cusp of becoming a big deal in the U.S.A."

Anthony Dias Blue's Bon Appetit, Feb. 2000: "Experimentation with nontraditional grape varieties keeps Argentina's Mendoza province among the most exciting wine regions in the world. One of the country's leading varietals is the Malbec, a fruity and ripe red with great aging potential...[Leading producers include] the Santa Julia winery."


The Rest of the Story

Hence, this will not come as a shock. of the hundreds of red wines my panel has tasted so far this year, the Best Buy was a Santa Julia Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. The vintage was 1998 and the price was eight dollars.

Tasters Comments—"Nice fruit flavors," "Good spicy oak," "Easy to drink."

The 1996 Vintage—We reviewed it in the April 14, 1998 WineDay titled "Hail To Malbec". (Santa Julia has 175 acres of vines under nets to protect it from the Andes Hail.) It was judged to be a fine value wine that year, too, worthy of an article. So, if you drink red wines costing less than $10, you must try...


Wine of the Day

1998 Santa Julia Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
Quality of the Wine—Malbec originated in Burgundy and gained fame in Bordeaux. However, there's general agreement that it is producing more complex wines in Argentina. In fact, Argentina is now the wor1d's largest producer of wines labelled Malbec.
Importer—Winesellers, which has a first class portfolio, including Georges Duboeuf. Contact office of Yale Sager, (847)679-O121, Skokie, IL.
Price—$8


Postscript—The Name "Argentina"

The Luck of the Spanish—"Argentino" means "silvery" in Spanish. When the Spanish first settled around Buenos Aires in 1580, they expected to find plenty of silver in the area. They found none!

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 
 


 
 

This page created October 2000