Julia Zuccardi, in her role as family ambassador, visited five US cities this month to introduce the new Santa Julia + wines, as well as unveiling the new look of the Organica and Reserva lines. She was accompanied by Ana Rodriguez Armisen, chef at the Zuccardi winery restaurant Casa del Visitante in Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina.
I was invited to attend a press luncheon on their stop in Baltimore. Julia and Ana presented a four course luncheon. Ana took custody of the kitchen at the Inn at the Black Olive in Baltimore, Maryland and transformed it to ‘an afternoon in Argentina’. Julia led us thru the luncheon discussing the wine parings and sharing the family philosophy of making wines with respect and care for the environment and the people that work with them.
The reception began with sampling four red wines while nibbling on Ana’s Beef Empanadas and Slices of grilled beef over bread and Ana’s homemade chimichurrie sauce.
Santa Julia + Malbec 2010, 30% of this wine was aged in French oak for 4 months. There was luscious bright fruit on the nose, and mild tannins on a very clean finish. This is a crowd pleasing Malbec, easy to sip and is sure to become very popular at $10.
Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2009, aged 8 months in French oak this Malbec, notably different from the + line, has dark fruit on the nose and strong tannins. Malbec lovers will enjoy this with a great steak dinner. $12
Santa Julia Organica Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 100% Organically grown grapes, made in stainless steel tanks. Lively fresh fruit aromas on the nose. The medium body and tannins make this a well balanced wine. $11
Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, aged 8 months in French oak. This wine has strong oak on the nose with earthy tobacco and leather flavors. Tannins are strong and tight, suggesting this wine could benefit from decanting. $12
Lunch, now ready to be served, Ana prepared a Blini of quinoa, goat cheese, honey jelly and sun-dried tomatoes pared with Santa Julia Brut Rose NV 100% Pinot Noir, bright sparkling strawberry pink in the glass, fresh aromas of grapefruit on the nose, with a lush finish. $13
Second course was fresh green salad with mustard shoots, algarroba croutons, grapefruit, cured trout with a grapefruit and Manzanilla olive oil dressing. This dish was extra special because we were fortunate to sample the Zuccardi family olive oils used in the dressing. Pared with this salad was the Santa Julia + Torrontes 2010 bright and brilliant yellow in the glass with fresh melon, grapefruit and honeysuckle on the nose. Dry with a crisp green apple finish. $10
Main course of risotto of quinoa and mascarpone cheese with fennel olive oil and grilled shrimp was rustic and flavorful pared with Santa Julia Organica Chardonnay 2010 crisp, dry un-oaked with melon on the nose, medium bodied with a clean finish. $11
Dessert was cheese pastry with quince, strawberry, aguaribay pared with Santa Julia Tardio 2009 85% Torrontes 15% Viognier gem like yellow in the glass with concentrated fruit aromas with white peach flavors, sweet, but not overdone, very pleasing finish. $13
This luncheon covered a lot of wine. My personal favorites and standouts from this event were the Santa Julia+ Malbec 2010, Santa Julia+ Torrontes 2010, Santa Julia Brut Rose NV. These wines are elegant, well made and are sure to please a wide variety of guests at your next event.
If traveling to South America, be sure to put Casa Del Visitante and Familia Zuccardi winery in Mendoza, Argentina on your itinerary.
Many thanks to Winesellers, Ltd who produced this elegant event. And to Julia and Ana who were welcoming, energetic and fun!