From: Gualtallary, Argentina
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Critical Acclaim: JS 90 James Suckling
A pretty nose of sour cherries, raspberries, potpourri and roses. Medium body with sleek tannins and bright acidity. Vibrant and fruity with a silky texture.
Taste: The nose reveals an invigorating aroma of red fruits, accented with a slight hint of gunpowder and earth. Sour cherries, raspberries, potpourri, and roses add further nuance. On the palate, the wine comes alive with a medium body, displaying sleek tannins and bright acidity. It exudes a striking balance of vibrant fruit, silky texture, and fine, poised structure, culminating in a long and pleasantly intense finish. A wine of altitude and attitude, truly capturing the essence of Gualtallary's unique terroir.
Pairing: The lively acidity and medium body of the 2021 Zorzal 'Terroir Unico' Pinot Noir make it an adaptable partner for a variety of dishes. Its vibrant fruit profile and underlying earthy tones pair exceptionally well with grilled salmon or tuna, enhancing the flavors without overpowering them (see recipe below). Alternatively, the wine's acidity cuts through the richness of duck and complements game birds nicely. For vegetarian options, consider a wild mushroom risotto or a savory tart. A versatile wine, the Zorzal Pinot Noir can elevate simple dishes or hold its own against more complex flavors.
Provençal Salmon With Fennel, Rosemary and Orange Zest
By Mark Bittman
About. A Wine of Pure Elevation and Character
Located at the highest extremes of Mendoza's viticultural limits, Zorzal Winery, founded in 2007, stands out as a beacon of innovation and passion. Their commitment to crafting high-quality wines is evident in the 2021 Zorzal 'Terroir Unico' Pinot Noir, a testament to the boundless possibilities of Argentine viticulture. This Pinot Noir mirrors the winery's devotion to the art of winemaking with its complexity, vivacity, and finesse.
The winemaker's notes eloquently paint a picture of this striking Pinot Noir. The wine flaunts a bright red color, an allure that beckons the palate. It is fresh and invigorating on the nose with undertones of red fruits, a hint of gunpowder, and a touch of black earth. Its texture is refined, underpinned by biting acidity that paves the way for a long and pleasing finish.
Revered critic James Suckling awarded the wine a laudable score of 90, highlighting its pretty nose of sour cherries, raspberries, potpourri, and roses. Its medium body is a stage for sleek tannins and bright acidity, making the wine vibrant and fruity with a silky texture.
Embracing the Terroir of Gualtallary
Zorzal is nestled on a 70-hectare parcel of prime land in the heart of the Uco Valley, specifically in the high-altitude wine region of Gualtallary, 130 miles south of Mendoza. Gualtallary is known for producing distinctive wines from Mendoza's signature Malbec and other varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir.
The vineyards, stationed at the foot of the Andes at altitudes reaching up to 5249 feet (1600 meters), enjoy cool nighttime temperatures that prolong the ripening period, allowing the grapes to retain their acidity. The higher altitude also increases sunlight and UV exposure, leading the grapes to produce more skin tannins, lending the wines an intense color and improved age-worthiness.
In Gualtallary, poor stony and alluvial soils intertwined with sand and limestone create free-draining conditions that stress the vines, yielding concentrated wines. The presence of limestone imparts a characteristic minerality that sets Gualtallary's wines apart from other regional wines of Mendoza.
The Evolution of Pinot Noir in Argentina
Pinot Noir has a rich history in Argentina. The earliest successful utilization of Pinot Noir was in sparkling wine production, leading to a preponderance of Champagne clones in Argentina. However, since the 2000s, there has been a shift in focus, with producers giving more thought to their genetic selection. This has led to marked improvements in red Pinot Noir wines.
The best Pinot Noir in Argentina hails from the cooler regions of the high-altitude Uco Valley, notably Gualtallary and low-latitude Río Negro. There are also promising early results from areas like Chubut and along the coast. While Argentina is still on the path to discovering the true identity of Argentine Pinot Noir, the high-end examples on the market, including the 2021 Zorzal 'Terroir Unico' Pinot Noir, serve as delicious indicators of the potential that awaits.
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