The joy to be got out of making wines with your family was what persuaded Gerardo, Matías, Gabriel and Juan Pablo Michelini to found SuperUco in partnership with Daniel Sammartino in 2011. Today, the continuing focus of this small winery is to refine the art of making terroir-centered wines.
Run by a group of family and friends, SuperUco is, in addition to being a producer of internationally acclaimed wines, a sustainable project involving enotourism and seasonal dining using produce from the establishment’s organic vegetable garden.
Committed to taking care of the environment and preserving the purity of the terroir, SuperUco has from the start employed organic, biodynamic and ecological practices that in 2021 won the winery an International Gold in Sustainable Practices from Great Wine Capitals.
“We anticipated that our wines would be elegant, pure, honest and internationally acclaimed but the fact that our own family is such an important part of a project that is transcending generations is something we never expected would happen so soon,” says Gabriel Michelini.
SuperUco, the road to perfection
Located in Los Chacayes and built with low impact raw materials such as wood and cement, the SuperUco winery is one of the more unusual in Mendoza: an octagonal construction in the middle of a circular vineyard where the rows are planted concentrically.
“If the circle is symbolic of the perfection of nature, the octagon represents the path to the precision we’re looking for in our wines,” says Matías Michelini. “There are no straight lines or edges in nature. The cosmos tends towards circles and curves. That was what inspired us to plant our vineyard, tend to our garden and set up our corral.”
The distinctive layout of the vineyard allows for photosynthetic variation as the vines grow, helping to accentuate and purify how the terroir is expressed in the fruit.
Set right in the middle, the small building looks rather austere, conveying the serenity and warmth the Michelinis invest in the winemaking process.
A pure terroir
With each bottle of SuperUco, the Michelini siblings look to share the purest possible expression of the Uco Valley. Aware of how challenging that goal can be, they have focused on three terroirs in particular: Gualtallary in Tupungato; Los Chacayes in Tunuyán; and Altamira in San Carlos.
“The Uco Valley is too vast to represent entirely,” says Juan Pablo Michelini, “so we selected the areas we believe are the purest, most telluric and visceral to express the qualities of the land with true fidelity.”
These three micro-terroirs are set in the wild, arid landscape of the Andean foothills at an altitude of between 3600 and 4800 feet above sea level. Their poor, alluvial and colluvial soils were formed by millions of years of mountain erosion.
Scarce in organic material, in these soils the roots hug the stones as they grow, absorbing nutrients and minerals of a quality one only finds on the mountain.
Obtained using biodynamic practices that employ no pesticides or chemical products and fermented with native yeast from the vineyards, the fruit harvested is an expression of the terroirs from which it came.
Wines of freedom
“Making elegant wines with your family that truly express the terroir is, for us, a gateway to freedom. A responsible freedom understood as a practice that defines our intuition, emotion and reason,” says Gerardo Michelini.
With each bottle of SuperUco, the Michelinis and Sammartino, together with their children, spouses, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and friends, seek to express the joy of the working with the fruits of the wonderful paradise that is the Uco Valley in three separate lines of wine.
Calcáreo is the purest expression of the terroir focused on creating the different textures imbued by the range of soil types.
The wines in this line – three Malbecs, one from Gualtallary, another from Paraje Altamira and another from Los Chacayes, plus a Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary or Paraje Altamira depending on the year – are fermented in concrete eggs with native yeast and aged in used barrels.
Meanwhile, each of the seven SuperUco wines represents the path of elegance with which the creators identify.
Mostly blends of Malbec and Cabernet Franc from the different terroirs mentioned, it also features a biological white made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling and a few pure varietals such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all linked to their respective mountain terroirs and aged with precision.
Finally, Genitori Gualta – a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc – and Genitori MIO – Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from Paraje Altamira – are the cuveé prestige of SuperUco and only made in special years.
With a traditional profile and aged for 20 months in new Taransaud T5 barrels this is a memorable pair of Uco Valley wines.