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Argentine wine entering a "new era", says legend of the industry Jose Zuccardi

Published:  24 March, 2015

A new generation of winemakers is helping Argentina enter a phase of "premiumisation" that concentrates of terroir-specific wines, a leading Mendoza winery has said.

Jose Zuccardi, director of the Familia Zuccardi Winery, says Argentina's wine industry can produce some of the best quality wines in the world by focusing on producing terroir specific wines.

"We have the potential to produce one of the great wines of the world, but we have to prove it. We have to prove how high, when it comes to quality, a wine we can produce, " Zuccardi told at ProWein last week.

He believes that by producing smaller terroir specific wines and then creating blends, Argentina wine producers can produce wines which better express the geology, geography and style of the regions where they are produced.

"We don't want to do average. We want to do the best and to do that we have to pick individual areas and ferment the wines separately," he added. 

Zuccardi argues that the ability for Argentina to become known for premium wines lies in its ability to produce and promote wines that reflect the terroir of regions such as the Uco Valley. "The future for Argentine wines is that the wines need to reflect the terrior and secondly that the wines can be fresh and alive."

Argentina is now moving into a new phase of its evolution as a world class producing wine region, he added. "The first step was show the world what Malbec from Argentina was. The next step is to show the extraordinary diversity of the terrior within Argentina. We talk about Malbec as if it is one thing, but Malbec can be many things."

Creating single area fermented wines, by block for example, is a newer technique for several Argentine producers which Zuccardi admits has not been done before, but is looking to embrace. He has spent the last five years building a new winery that is better equipped to produce smaller batched wines and has several smaller tanks to help implement his vision of making terroir specific wines.

Zuccardi also believes the new generation of winemakers who have worked all over the world are now best equipped to help Argentina produces the highest quality of wines. He said: "There is a lot of potential and the new generation of winemakers out there is going to help."

Producing higher quality wines is important, but to do so consistently is equally important.

"It is important to know that Argentine wines can play at many different price points in the market. We can prove that the wines have the capacity for ageing for example," Zuccardi said.

The future markets for Argentine wines are the domestic market, but also in some key markets abroad, Zuccardi said: "We have to play in markets that where we are currently- in the US, in the UK, in Canada, in Brazil and of course in Argentina."