The Michelini brothers’ 2015 Zorzal Eggo “Tinto de Tiza” upends old notions of Argentinian reds — and racks up 94 points doing it. The brothers, whose creativity “seems to have no limits” according to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, who also called this finely-cut Malbec-dominated blend from red-chalk soils “incredible for the price.” Wine Access clients snapped up last vintage’s allocation at a head-spinning speed when The Advocate’s instructions for last year’s vintage was “buy by the case!” With 94 points on a $26.99 beauty like this, those words are as true now as they were then.
The curious egg-shaped fermentation vats caught our eye even before the snow-capped Andean vistas. Introduced by Rhône legend Michel Chapoutier, the “eggs” are a cornerstone of the Michelini brothers’ winemaking strategy.
“Without any corners, egg vats create smoother flow and better uniformity,” Juan Pablo Michelini told us. “That circulation creates richer mouthfeel. The eggs regulate temperature better. The surface of concrete means you get millions of microscopic pockets of oxygen, which improves tannins. Also,” Michelini said, grinning, “they look cool!”
But you won’t be thinking about that distinct shape and method once Zorzal’s Eggo “Tinto de Tiza” crosses your lips: precise, elegant, and light on its feet — a stark contrast to some of Mendoza fuller, riper, heavily-oaked styles of Malbec. How is this possible?
The answer lies in the terroir: Tinto de tiza means “chalk red,” a nod to the rare calcareous soil that lies underneath Zorzal’s 173 acres of vineyards. Add a perch 4,264 feet above sea level — Mendoza’s highest — and a brisk Andean breeze, and you’ve got the ingredients for one rich and beautifully delineated Malbec blend.