José Zuccardi Malbec is a Malbec for Malbec-Heads
An archetype means “a very typical example of a certain person or thing.” In the case of the José Zuccardi Malbec, 2019 I think it’s safe to call it a hyper-archetypical Malbec — in that it provides all the fun fruity flavours you’ve come to expect from high-caliber Argentian offerings, but with the dial turned to 11. The José Zuccardi is a Malbec for Malbec heads (is “Malbec” beginning to read weird to anyone yet?) There’s just one, teensy tiny detail complicating this commentary — José Zuccardi Malbec isn’t even a Malbec.
Ok that’s not quite true. It contains Malbec. In fact, it contains quite a lot of it (95% to be exact), the other slice of the pie coming from Cabernet Sauvignon. But it’s pretty rare to slap a single varietal on a blended bottle.
(Though! Not unheard of! Alberta Premium’s Dark Horse Rye actually contained a small amount of Sherry, and I had no beef with that.)
Still, I don’t think a blended bottle has ever deserved more to claim the right to single varietal status as José Zuccardi Malbec. Here’s what I thought:
José Zuccardi Malbec Review
I picked up this bottle to sip on the 11th anniversary of my first date with (my wife) Christine. I chose it for two reasons — One, we ordered a Malbec on our first date over a decade ago. And two, I wanted to feel fancy, so chose to spend twice as much as I would on a bottle of Catena, another Argentinian I adore. And José Zuccardi fit the (not insubstantial) bill, $45.95 as of the writing of this piece.
On the nose, it’s not quite fair to say José Zuccardi is “fruit forward” — more like, “fruit behind enemy lines.” Fermented in concrete as it was, there’s little to distract from the dark fruit, cherries and plum that pour from the glass. There’s a bit of…something behind it. A bit like the ozone I associate with a good Chablis. I’ve seen “ashphalt” in other reviews but I wouldn’t go that far.
The taste keeps it fruity, but introduces some new dance partners. The tannins in this wine are way more reminiscent of a French Malbec than most Argentinians. I was definitely drinking this wine about as early as you could and not feel guilty. I reckon you could throw the José Zuccardi on it’s side for 5 or more years at least and it would keep improving.
In addition to the towering flavours of blackberry, there was a nice touch of herbality, almost like Tarragon which added some intrigue and was welcomed in the middle of the fruit salad. I found the José Zuccardi to be on the sweet side, but it may have just been my association with the fruit, because it doesn’t have a remarkably high sugar content. All in all — this was Malbecked the hell up, and I was here for it.
If you’re looking to treat yourself to something a little more upscale than the weeknight bottle you keep on hand — oh, and you were cursed by a witch to be obsessed with Malbec flavours — you’re going to be extremely pleased with the José Zuccardi. While I dodged the curse, as a casual Malbec fan I enjoyed this wine, and would definitely sip it slow again.