José Zuccardi’s is the director of Argentina’s Familia Zuccardi winery. We’ve reviewed their wines in the past. In the 1990s, he developed a new brand, Santa Julia, which was named after his only daughter. They do keep it in the family: his son Sebastián is the current winemaker at Zuccardi.
Back in 2001, I tried their Santa Julia Reserva Merlot for the first time. It was a vanilla bomb that showed an impressive level of barrel aging; the volatile phenol vanillin is found in white oak, especially in American white oak. While impressive and bombastic, it wasn’t exactly a balanced approach, one that was geared towards a stereotypical American palate.
Over time, that oak focus has faded from its winemaking philosophy. Instead, they focus on the high-quality fruit they have in their arsenal, which is a welcome change. The Magna is the flagship wine of the Saint Julia line. It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec blend with a dollop of Syrah in the mix. All the fruit is from the high-altitude Uco Valley.
The Wine Review
Firm structure and supple tannin underpin multiple layers of flavors. Wildflowers, fresh cherry, tobacco, and vanilla are woven into this pretty bottle. A lush and beautiful wine that outperforms its price point by a wide margin.