World’s Best Vineyards 2022: Argentina Edition (Part 1 51-100)

Bodega Colomé (Photo: Bodega Colomé)

The highly anticipated World’s Best Vineyards (Bodegas) 2022 list, showcasing the very best of wine tourism across the globe, was revealed at a special live event hosted for the first time, ever in Mendoza, Argentina, on October 26, 2022. This annual event, which saw more than 200 journalists and experts representing the world of wine from over 30 countries, was hosted at the Piedra Infinita Estate in Valle de Uco by Zuccardi Wines. Sponsored by the Government of Mendoza, through its Ministry of Tourism & Culture, the event kicked off on Friday, October 21 with the announcement of winners placing 51-100 of their annual Top 100 via social media. Making the cut were five Argentine bodegas: Matías Riccitelli/Riccitelli Wines, Bodega Colomé, Bodega Súper Uco, Bodega El Esteco and Bodega Kaiken. Argentina also featured in the top 50 with four placings: Bodegas Salentein, El Enemigo Wines, Trapiche and Catena Zapata. Additionally, having obtained first place in the ranking at the three previous editions (2019, 2020 and 2021), this year the first bodega to enter the World’s Best Vineyards Hall of Fame was Zuccardi Wines.

The World’s Best Vineyards annual list highlights the top vineyards to visit globally and aims to promote wine tourism around the world. Each year the list showcases unique vineyards with unrivalled visitor experiences, from modern architectural wonders, UNESCO-protected ancient cellars, and Michelin-starred restaurants to family-run wineries with intimate tours. The Voting Academy consists of over 500 leading wine experts, sommeliers and travel professionals who submit their nominations based on the different criteria that make the best destination vineyard. These include quality of the overall experience, ambiance, cuisine, activities, views, staff, and value for money. The results are then collated and converted into the World’s Best Vineyards list.

The new Hall of Fame category was created to reward bodegas that frequently top the annual vote of the World’s 50 Best Vineyards. This frequency in winning makes them ineligible to be voted for in new editions of the list, elevating them to a highly coveted position in the Hall of Fame. As one of the great wine capitals of the world, Mendoza’s beautiful scenery at the foothills of the Andes Mountain Range, surrounded by lakes and full of vineyards, lends to its perfect suiting as a wine tourism destination. The ever-increasing diversity and innovation in the region, makes it a must-visit travel destination for vinophiles the world over.

Today Thursday Food shares with you the bodegas that garnered placings from 51-100 on the Top 100 and a few of the wines they produce.

#55 Riccitelli Wines by Matias Riccitelli is located in Las Compuertas which, at 1100 metres above sea level, is the highest area of Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza. Matias Riccitelli was born in Cafayate, Salta, before moving to Mendoza with his family, where he studied winemaking. Under the tutelage of his father (and mentor) Jorge Riccitelli, the 1st Latin American chosen as the “Winemakers of the Year” in 2012 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, Matias established Riccitelli Wines in 2009. Hey Rosé! is the featured varietal from Riccitelli Wines that expresses the versatility of Malbec to adapt itself to any kind of wine. Hey Rosé! Is a 100 per cent Malbec wine with a beautiful pink salmon colour. It has floral aromas with notes of white fruits and citrus on the nose. On the palate it is fresh and elegant with a medium weight and a satisfying finish.

#61 Bodega Colomé in Salta is located in what can be described as a hidden corner of the Calchaquíes Valleys, in one of Argentina’s most impressive landscapes. It is one of the highest vineyards in the world and was founded in 1831. Bodega Colomé, is the oldest working winery in the country and with 4 Estates between 1,700m and 3,111m, the highest altitude of Argentina, Colomé is a unique project. Altitude, as it generates microclimates and varied terroirs, is a factor that distinguishes Salta from the rest of the regions from Argentina and worldwide, translating into outstanding expression and diversity in their wines. The Colome Estate Malbec is a 100 per cent and a signature varietal from this bodega. Bright and intense red in colour with aromas of black and red fruits, it has a scented nose with oral notes and spices. It is fresh and has a structure that is complex, elegant and with great personality.

#64 Bodega SuperUco in Mendoza was born as a shared dream, fuelled by the passion of the four Michelini brothers: Gerardo, Matías, Gabriel and Juan Pablo, who together with Daniel Sammartino, created Super Uco. They spent upwards of five years developing the idea and transformed the bodega into what is now a place dedicated to the art of making wines from the terroir with precision. In this unique setting lies a two-hectare enterprise that is completely biodynamic and includes an octagon cellar, located right in the middle of the estate. If in nature the circle is synonymous with perfection, the octagon is the geometric figure closest to the circle: the path to perfection. The SuperUco White, of which there are only 1,015 bottles, is a co-fermentation of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling vinified. The wine comes with a freshness and acidity on the palate while on the nose the expressions are of flowers, citrus and herbs on a mineral substrate.

#72 Bodega El Esteco in Salta is part of Grupo Penaflor, the leading wine-making group of Argentina, acknowledged as one of the top ten largest wine producers worldwide. Situated in Cafayate, which is the north of Argentina, Bodega El Esteco’s high-altitude vineyards and the benefits of an exclusive terroir makes it a high-end exponent, with wines having a unique, powerful and deep personality. Altimus, by Bodega El Esteco, represents the maximum expression of the creativity and art of the oenologist who each year selects the most representative grapes of each variety to obtain the best cuts and thus achieve the most select wine. The blended red varietal comprises 55 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 per cent Malbec, 10 per cent Cabernet Franc and 5 per cent Merlot from four different farming estates. The wine has a brilliant red colour, ruby notes and a violet and black background. On the nose, it has very good ripeness and fruit concentration expressing aromas of fresh bell peppers, paprika, plums and red berries, coffee and integrated soft oak. In the mouth, it is sweet and fruity with soft, round and well-ripened tannins. It has freshness and a lot of elegance making it a juicy and smooth wine.

#83 Kaiken Wines in Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza was established in Luján de Cuyo in 2001 although the Kaikén winery actually dates back to 1920. The Argentine adventure of its owners Montes winery in Chile, Kaikén Wines is popular with a diverse portfolio that ranges from fragrant Cabernet Franc to sparkling Chardonnay-Pinot Noir, as well as a strong focus on Malbec from different terroirs. The Kaiken Luxury Edition 20 Years is a wine of only 5,977 bottles that is sold exclusively in Argentina. It is made up of 60 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 per cent Cabernet Franc, 15 per cent Malbec and 5 per cent Petit Verdot, a true Bordeaux blend aimed at achieving precision and balance so that its fruity aromas stand out and add structure. It has a bright and deep ruby red colour with aromas that are balanced and elegant, having a subtle and complex expression at the same time. It is fresh on the palate, with a precise, harmonious and smooth step along with a persistent finish in which its great aging potential can be appreciated.

Next week in Thursday Food, Part 2 will feature the Argentine bodegas that made it into the Top 50 as well as the first-ever World’s Best Vineyards 2022 Hall Of Fame inductee.

Riccitelli Wines by Matias Riccitelli. (Photo: Riccitelli Wines)

Altimus 2017 (Photo: Bodega El Esteco)

Bodega El Esteco (Photo: Bodega El Esteco)

Colomé Estate Malbec (Photo: Bodega Colomé)

Hey Rosé (Photo: Riccitelli Wines)

Kaiken Wines (Photo: Kaiken Wines)

Bodega SuperUco (Photo: Courtesy of SuperUco)

SuperUco Blanco 2019 (Photo: Courtesy of SuperUco)

The winery at Bodega Riccitelli (Photo: Riccitelli Wines)

Kaiken Wines Luxury Edition (Photo: Kaiken Wines)

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