2022 Santa Julia "La Vaquita" Mendoza Malbec/Torrontes Blend


In the simplest of terms this wine is just great. Yes, it checks off most of the “Natural Wine” boxes-organic, natural carbonic fermentation, no sulfur additions-but it is also squeaky clean with no funk in site. Best of both worlds some may say! Intensely aromatic from the floral and exotic Torrontes addition this juicy, lightweight red with bursting raspberry fruit and a rangy tang of acidity really brightens up any dinner party or cocktail hour. Plus it is still under $20, a rarity in Natural Wine these days. (Bryan, GTO)

92 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A new "clarete" light red from the "natural" range, the 2022 La Vaquita Natural is the first vintage for this unusual blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Torrontés that fermented together; the Malbec was with full clusters, and they do a semi-carbonic maceration. It has a pale color, with notes from the two varieties, with violets and orange blossom, and it is fine-boned, light and fresh but with clout, with 13.8% alcohol and fine tannins. This is a very gastronomical light red with tasty, clean flavors and aromas and a velvety mouthfeel. Very easy to drink. This is the first vintage from organic grapes and fermented with indigenous yeasts. 20,000 bottles were filled in August 2022 after three months in stainless steel.

Santa Julia is the largest producer of organic grapes in Mendoza—330 hectares—and the rest is in conversion, as they have a very large surface of vineyards, around 900 hectares (and they also buy grapes). They are slowly converting everything, because it's a lot of work with such a large extension. They are also planting more in Valle de Uco, where they are going to grow. They are also going to build a new vinification center in Vista Flores. They produce around 25 million bottles. They have not bought any new oak since 2014, so there's very little oak influence in the wines. There is a range of "natural" wines produced with organic grapes and with no addition of sulfur but produced with cold and cleanliness, with technology to avoid deviations." (11/30/22)