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Country of Origin: Argentina
Location: Barreal, Calingasta Valley, San Juan
People: Pancho Bugallo & Sebastián Zuccardi, Owners & Winemakers
Established in 2011, Cara Sur is a partnership between two couples who were inspired to revive ancestral vines and produce honest wines from these traditional Argentine varieties.
Sebastián Zuccardi and Marcela Manini and friends Nuria Año Gargiulo and Pancho Burgallo are the quartet who quietly produce some of the most unique wines from one of the most underrated microclimates of Argentina: Calingasta Valley of San Juan, north of Mendoza. The wines are made from 80-year-old Muscatel, Muscatel Negro, Bonarda, and Criolla Chica, the Argentine iteration of País (a.k.a. Listan Prieto / Mission). The vines are trained to a parral, a ceiling-trellised system that provides shade and maximizes airflow. The vineyard sits alongside the Los Patos River in Barreal on stony soil at 1,500 meters above sea level. The Cara Sur wines are made in a tiny winery next to Pancho and Nuria’s home where they produce small quantities of wine with minimal intervention.
Cara Sur translates to "south face" and refers to the more challenging approach to Cerro Mercedario, one of Argentina’s tallest peaks, which can be seen from Barreal.
"If a country’s winemaking health is indicated by the depth of its range, small producers must be a key factor, and there’s plenty from them available in wine stores in Argentina, although little finds its way outside the country. For this report, I tasted wines from around 30 producers whose output ranges from a handful of bottles to a few thousand a year. In some cases – for instance, Alma Gemela, Relator, Somos Berracos, Bira, Cara Sur, Sunal Wines and Amar y Vivir – these wines deserve serious attention. Whether it’s combinations of unusual varieties (from Monastrel to Criolla or Sangiovese), extreme regions and remote locations such as San Lucas in Salta, or old, forgotten vines in Tupungato, Uco Valley, they are producing some of the most innovative flavors on the market. If you’re looking for something new and different, this is the way to go."
The Feiring Line 8/2019
"About seven years ago, a fierce advocate for authentic wines in Argentina and now winemaker, Gabriel Dvorskin, wrote me a note about the scion of the Zuccardi family, Sebastián. 'He refused to follow the orders of the family to go to UC Davis and left to do harvests in Piedmont and study vineyards. Now he’s 33 and rather stubborn about vineyard and soils.' And so a few years later we have his project with friends, the inspiring Cara Sur wines."