by Fred McMillin
for April 14, 1998

Hail to the Malbec


Since here in Argentina hail can ruin our wine grapes, we owners have installed a Russian rocket system to break up the hail. Also, my winery has 175 acres of vines protected by hail nets.

...by Proprietor Jose Alberto Zuccardi, Santa Julia Vineyards and Winery

Nowhere is the Malbec grape, once dominant in Bordeaux, so important today as it is in Argentina. The country's most widely-planted varietal, Malbec makes a rich, vigorous wine, their best red.

...by Hugh Johnson, "World Atlas of Wine"

The Rest of the Story

Argentina is not an insignificant wine producer, ranking fifth in world production.

Santa Julia is not an insignificant Argentinian winery, with about 1,200 acres of vines and the latest technology...harvested grapes are blanketed with inert gas on their trip to the crusher... fermentation temperature can be controlled for both white and red wines...computer records are maintained even on the temperature at the time of picking, etc.

So, if you want to taste a wine from Argentina's best grape made by a cutting-edge winery, here it is, at a great price.

The Wine

'96 100% Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
Santa Julia Vineyards
Importer—Winesellers, Ltd.
Availability—Sold in 41 states already.
Contact—Yale Sager, (847) 679-0121, Skokie,IL.
Price—Would you believe, SIX BUCKS.


Early this century, there was a large influx of Italians into Argentina, including Jose's great-grandfather. While the Zuccardis made wine, they didn't go commercial until 1963, when Jose's father, Don Alberto Zuccardi, founded Santa Julia. As for a dynasty, yes, Jose and Anna have a sixteen-year-old son...stay tuned.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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