Zuccardi: Alma 4 Pinot Chardonnay; Series A Chardonnay Viognier 2011; Q Chardonnay 2011; Z Blend 2009; Malamado Viognier 2009

Continuing the week in Buenos Aires…

We took a ten course tasting menu paired with five Zuccardi wines at El Baqueano, a superb restaurant in the (somewhat dodgy) San Telmo neighbourhood.  The courses went Fernando Rivarola, Porteno, representing EB, and Rodrigo Oliveira, Brazilian, from Mocoto in Sao Paulo.  It was a sort of Iron Chef standoff.  First the good news: The food was beyond description.  Now the bad news: The wine was hit and miss.

zuccardi zeta

Zuccardi isn’t well-represented in BC.  The BC liquor stores carry a so-so Tempranillo.  I think there might be a Torrontes in some of the private stores.  Nothing to write a blog about.  Plus, they make too many “labels” with their A series, their Q series, their Z.  Plus other labels.  It feels like the Tom Ford perfume counter.

We started with their sparkling, a pinot noir/chardonnay blend, vintage 2010.  It seemed a bit pretentious to make it a vintage, “the 2010 Alma 4” versus the “2009” etc.  I would call this a very good Prosecco, enjoyable, social, not much more.

Our second wine was a Series A Chardonnay Viognier blend, 2011.  This would definitely have to be well under $20 for me to take an interest again.  It was lacking depth, rather flat, and not hugely food friendly.  It drank like many house wines drink; like innocuous wine.

The third wine was quite good.  Their Q Chardonnay 2011 hit the glass a tad too cold, but as it warmed it opened up and revealed some delicate butterscotch and pear nuances that perfectly suited some vegetarian mains.  Barrel fermented, not uber new world.

Then the heavy hitter came out.  Ooh la la.  This was a hit.  Following the Chardonnay, the Z Blend, a “mostly Malbec” blend with Cabernet and Tempranillo, was paired with two meat courses.  It was hugely appealing, deeply, wonderfully and even spectacularly food friendly, a gorgeous sipper, and although the oak and purple fruits shone through it didn’t linger too long.  This was served with a braised goat on couscous followed by nandu.

nanduNandu, for those not in the know, is a South American three toed flightless bird akin to ostrich.  The chef had created a roast nandu on a house-made chimichurri, a light salsa, and a potato so special I have to explain it: It looked like a chocolate cube.  It was in fact caramel.  If you cracked the caramel with your knife a “yolk” of truffle oil oozed out.  The sweet, starch and tart all combined superbly.  And the wine carried this off with perfection.  Astonishing considering it was only a 2009.  This is a premium wine of the first order which, unfortunately, I have no idea how to source.  I did find it later at a Buenos
Aires private wine store for the equivalent of $60 CDN.  I figure in
BC, with the duties and taxes all factored in, we’re talking Brunello prices.


We wrapped it up with their Malamado fortified Viognier, 2009.  Most appealing.  A great host offering instead of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, say.  A little on the heavy side but not a lot to complain about.  It washed down a mango sorbet with aplomb.

Wine aside: If you’re in BA, check out El Baqueano.  It might be your priciest dinner but you won’t regret it.  Oh, and they were very generous with the pouts.

Price: All in, including tax and tip, $100 per.

Market Liquidity: The Zeta stole the show.

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