Ucopia Wines is a leading specialist importer-distributor whose core speciality is Argentina, along with great wines from Uruguay, Spain and Languedoc-Roussillon. The company is headed up by Laurie Webster – formerly Managing Director at Las Bodegas; and Phil Crozier – formerly Director of Wine at Gaucho Restaurants and European Ambassador for Wines of Argentina. At SITT Autumn Ucopia will be showcasing an exciting line-up of wines from a unique spectrum of small and medium-sized producers.
We are a small team of dedicated wine lovers with a mild obsession for Argentina – our core speciality as importers and distributors to the trade. We are always on the look-out for new and exciting things to add to our portfolio and our wines from Uruguay, France and Spain are not token gestures but wines that we love and are equally proud of.
We will remain primarily focused on Argentina, applying our many years of experience with that wonderful country and Her winemakers, continuously refining and developing our range; but we are open-minded and we will add new wines from anywhere we see great value from producers who share our belief in excellent, honest, innovative winemaking done with flair and energy.
Ucopia Wines Catalogue
This is Convento’s ‘young wine’, but it is no flimsy waif. On the contrary this is a solid, robust yet silky wine made from Tempranillo vines of 25 – 45 years of age. Grown at around 900 metres above sea level on sand, gravel, red clay and stony limestone, the wine offers a degree of complexity and structure that belies its price and presents a superb entry point to the excellent wines of Ribera del Duero. Aged for around 6 months in 500 litre Bordeaux barrels made from a combination of 50% French and 50% American oak, with this the winery’s aim to put fruit and terroir first has been accomplished. Vibrant purple in the glass, fantastic purity of fruit on the nose; plums and spice, juicy and finely balanced on the palate.
Wines like this are the reason that Ribera del Duero has managed to build itself a cult status as a top wine region over the past few decades. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘Crianza’, which in Rioja would suggest around six months in oak. This beauty has spent 16 months in French and American oak and is made from old vines up to 106 years old! It’s brimming with notes of vanilla, cocoa and dark brambly fruit. This wine is robust with lashings of lovely oak supported by keen freshness and a wonderfully sweet vanilla finish. Very deep in colour with a nose of tobacco leaf and black fruits. The palate shows intense blackberry, anise and black cherry character with notes of game and dried flowers.
After several years of listing just two wines from this brilliant, young-spirited producer, we decided in the Spring of 2023 we were long overdue to demonstrate our support further by listing this stunning wine, along with its partner, La Zapatera. The Selección Especial takes things to another level entirely. Made from two small parcels of Tempranillo vines with an average age of 65 years, situated at 850 metres above sea level on sand, gravel and red clay soils, here we see the incredible intensity and power for which Ribera del Duero is so renowned and arguably unrivalled. Following fermentation in stainless steel the wine was aged for 21 months in new medium-toast French barriques, bottled without clarification or filtration, 3,622 bottles in total. Almost black in appearance, with heady aromas of rich black fruits beneath hints of allspice, Bovril, garam masala, black pudding and smoky bacon. (Vegan friendly wine by the way!) It might sound a tad ‘butch’ but actually it’s a masterclass in balance on the palate; super succulent with gentle tannins and incredible length. Of course, it will improve immeasurably with time in bottle for those who have the patience. We don’t!
A 50 / 50 blend of Chardonnay, for supple texture and subtle tropical fruits on the nose; and Macabeo, for zingy acidity and citrus characteristics, this is a lively, refreshing dry white that celebrates simplicity and good, honest winemaking without the hindrance of cheap oak. Give it a go it’s delicious, and fantastic value.
First off, it’s the ‘right colour’, delicate pale pink, thoroughly on trend. Next up, a nose bounteous with ripe red berry fruit aromas with a splosh of creaminess, finishing properly dry with just a hint of natural residual sugar. Made from 100% old bush-trained Garnacha vines from this superb, medium-sized family producer, El Otro Rosado is a cracking little wine, proudly uncomplicated.
Arguably the best value red wine in our entire portfolio, this excellent all-rounder is essentially an old-vine Garnacha with a generous splodge of Syrah in the blend, about 15%. It’s remarkably bold in weight and structure given the humble price tag, and absolutely oozes clean, fresh, dark berry fruits from nose to finish.
This refreshing, aromatic dry white is a blend of Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc - with no oak - grown on vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean sea. A delicious aperitif and a great food wine. Winemaker, Boris Kovac: "One day while I was tasting wines from barrels when my daughter Amélie was just 4 years old, she showed me a drawing she had done on the back of my tasting notes... these pretty flowers. I was inspired to create a label for my wines, characterised by their freshness and elegance.
This crisp, delicate dry rosé is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes grown on vineyards in the foothills of the Pyrénées mountains. Lovely strawberry and red cherry aromas give way to a fresh, fruity character in the mouth. Unashamedly crafted in the Provence style but such amazing value by comparison and, if anything, possessing much more charm and generosity of fruit than most.
This medium-bodied, juicy red is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah grapes grown on vineyards in the foothills of the Pyrénées mountains. Lovely summer fruit aromas, soft tannins, dark fruit flavours and subtle spice in the mouth. No oak. A delicious all-rounder, great with food and a stalwart of the Ucopia range.
From Finca Mangato vines in El Paral, Tupungato at 1,200 metres above sea level, planted on shallow sandy-loam soils, this lovely, compact Malbec is co-fermented with 8% Syrah, and this partly explains its lively, fresh character. It is dark and inky in the glass as one would expect, with charming notes of wild cherry, plum and blackberry on the nose. In the mouth the structure is tidy and precise with perfectly integrated tannins and a delicious, long finish reminiscent of those same dark fruits. 30% of the wine is aged in second use French oak barrels for 6 months. A lovely entry point into a range full of stars. Leticia, meaning Joy in Latin, is the name of one of Estela Perinetti’s daughters; a fitting tribute to a wine so close to the winemaker’s heart.
From Finca Mangato vines in El Paral, Tupungato at 1,200 metres above sea level, planted on shallow sandy-loam soils, this delicious blend bears testament to Estela’s eye for detail and insistence on absolute precision. A blend of 70% Cabernet Franc with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intriguingly, 70% of the Cab Sauv parcel is co-fermented with the Cab Franc, and the remaining 30% of Cab Sauv is aged for 9 months in second use French oak. Still with us? There is a very strong sense here that nothing is left to chance and the results are fabulous. The nose screams neither varietal on its own but, rather, offers up an holistic approach to blending as can be seen in Estela’s other wines. The effect is harmonious throughout from notes of hibiscus flowers and spice on the nose through to plump cassis and juicy redcurrant in the mouth. A superbly crafted blend representing fantastic value for money. Leticia, meaning Joy in Latin, is the name of one of Estela Perinetti’s daughters; a fitting tribute to a wine so close to the winemaker’s heart.
Estela Perinetti makes it very clear when she says: “We are not just Malbec”. To be very honest, however, if there were only wine from this very exciting producer, we would still want to bring it in to the UK. It’s a belter! Again, we are not talking about a ‘showy’, gutsy wine full of bravado. On the contrary, this can be characterised by its sensitivity and precision. There is beautiful purity of fruit, and everything is judged perfectly leaving a sense that Malbec is capable of truly great things even amongst the most dissenting of voices. Fermentation in Stainless steel with 100% malolactic; aged in French oak for 12 months – 30% first use, 30% second use, 40% unoaked. Stunning!
Of all the wines being made by Estela Perinetti, this was the wine that gave us no choice, we had to say Yes Please! 60% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Franc with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon not stated on the label, this really embodies the pursuit of an holistic approach to winemaking and blending. The nose abounds with aromas of dried flowers and herbs with delightful red and black fruits, the palate gets a big hug of fruit and a kiss of fresh acidity, rounded off with subtle spice and fresh mint notes. An absolute delight.
An utterly beguiling white wine from a winemaker whose appetite for experimentation – and strange labels! – seems to know no bounds. 70% Viognier, 20% Marsanne and 10% Pedro Giménez (Criolla Blanca) co-fermented with airborne yeast in a single raw concrete 3,000 litre egg-shaped fermenter with 35 days’ open / oxidative fermentation. 90% of the wine stays in the egg sur lie for 11 months; the other 10% is aged under flor in French oak barrels before being back blended with the main body of the wine. The final wine is then aged for a further 12 months in bottle prior to release. The results are extraordinary. An incredibly fresh wine given the winemaking techniques, yet with a texture verging on voluptuous. Lovely fresh-baked bread notes atop supple melon and pineapple aromas, rich yet precise in the mouth. Gorgeous.
Whole bunch fruit undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 6 days; fermentation over 20 days with wild yeasts in a large raw concrete egg with no skin contact – thus the delicate pale garnet colour. The wine spends 6 months on its lees and 8 months in bottle before release. This is simply one of the prettiest red wines we have ever tasted with swathes of tantalising red fruits throughout the tasting experience, bags of crunchy red apple skin character and staggering length. It completely flies in the face of what most people would expect from Argentina – a joy to taste and drink.
The label shows Gloria Swanson, femme fatale and siren of the silent movies, a fitting moniker for this sultry, sexy wine. Semi-carbonic maceration for 4 days, 50% whole bunch; fermentation through airborne yeast in 500lt French oak (used) and 400lt clay amphorae for 18 days with no skin contact, spontaneous malolactic. The wine is aged in a combination of amphorae and smaller, used French oak casks for 18 months, followed by 20 months in bottle. Fresh red cherries abound on the nose with subtle candied fruit notes, nice firm tannins in the mouth and astounding length.
The grapes are only ever from De Angeles’ one small vineyard – ‘Viña 1924 Parcel 3’ – and the age of the vines partly explains the stunning concentration here; but don’t expect a ‘blockbuster’, this is elegance itself. These un-grafted vines are trained low and pruned double guyot with 7,200 plants per hectare and everything in the vineyard is geared around the preservation of tradition. Everything is done by hand… harvesting, de-stemming, berry selection. Fermentation takes place in small stainless-steel tanks and after only a brief spell in used oak the wine is aged for 24 months in bottle prior to release. Deep ruby red in colour, lovely aromas of plums and sweet red berries, silky-textured in the mouth with incredible length. Elegant yet intense, fresh, complex, superbly balanced and, best of all, slightly wild and untamed. Simply one of the best Malbecs we’ve ever tasted.
Is it actually possible to improve upon the ‘regular’ Malbec from De Angeles? And if so, what are the differences? Well, this is even more dense and concentrated on the nose with hedonistic aromas of sweet black plums and dried violets mingling with subtle spice and mocha. In the mouth the wine is luxuriously succulent with plush tannins and beautiful, gentle acidity and an incredibly long finish redolent of sweet blackcurrant with hints of molasses and liquorice on the end, but again the wine is by no means overbearing or ‘showy’. Winemaker Juan Manuel Gonzalez has again allowed these fantastic old vines do most of the work. The Gran Malbec, however, is aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months and this is a key difference, but these barrels have very low toast levels and thus the fruit / oak integration is sublimely integrated. This is nothing short of a masterpiece that speaks volumes of its unique raw materials – very old un-grafted vines. We wonder if Malbec from Bordeaux could ever have tasted this good when it was the main grape of that region pre-phylloxera; probably far too hypothetical to contemplate given the likely lack of cleanliness in the winemaking back then. Anyway, this is gorgeous!
All of the wines in the family range from Benegas are named for Federico Benegas-Lynch’s children – Clara Chardonnay, Carmela Rosé, Luna Cabernet and this, a fantastic, compact little Malbec called Juan! The wine is a blend from old vines grown near the winery in Maipú with younger Uco Valley vines. The former bring succulence and a classic ripe black fruit character, the latter contribute a lean, mineral character and fine, bony tannins. The combination is perfect.
Part of the story of this tremendous, historic producer is its gentle evolution into the modern era. This cracking Malbec comes from Benegas plantings in their own Finca La Encerrada vineyard in Gualtallary, Uco Valley, at 1,450 MASL. Floral and mineral aromatics typical of this area mingle with impressive black fruit concentration in a wine that is big and polished, yes, but ultimately fresh and very finely judged with just 6 months in second use French oak barrels. A lovely, big, decadent bottle of Malbec for sharing; or keeping for a few years.
From grapes grown at the family’s Finca La Encerrada vineyard in the Uco Valley where sandy, calcareous soils are known to imbue the wine with a subtle mineral complexity, this superb Malbec represents something of a stylistic bridge in terms of the Benegas story past and present. The power and concentration that we have always associated with this great old producer are there in spades, but so too is a new level of elegance and poise, with a deft touch of carefully balanced oak (12 months in new French) and a freshness which is simply joyous. Malbec has come a long way in the last 10 – 15 years and no wine tells the story better than this.
This excellent Chardonnay (unoaked of course, as are all the Serbal wines) has quickly gained a reputation in the trade as a go-to wine sitting above entry level but not breaking any banks. It shows considerable elegance, varietal character and poise for a wine at this price level, perhaps elucidating the French bias in this winery.
If Chardonnay really is making a comeback in the UK it must be due, at least in part, to wines like this. It’s no longer shameful to ask for a Chardonnay with plenty of oak and when done well, as here, the result is a happy reunion. This is a big wine with lots of lovely pineapple, honey and vanilla nuances, but it is not overblown, the acidity is excellent, and people are loving it.
A lively and fresh colour with a Riesling typical vibrancy. Delicate notes of nectarines, yellow peaches with zesty and fresh lime fruit. It has a great intensity, minerality and structure combined with lovely, crisp acidity and a superb fruity finish of ripe peaches, nectarines, citrus and lime. The grapes for the MINERALSTEIN Riesling come from two vineyard sites in Herxheim am Berg and Bad Dürkheim. Here on the gentle slopes of the Haardt mountains the vineyard soil compositions vary between loess-loam with shell-limestone (Muschelkalk) in Herxheim am Berg - and the sites closer to Bad Dürkheim are rich in coloured sandstones. Vineyards on limestone are rather complicated to manage, because of their higher pH / calcium content and therefore the vineyard’s tendency to clorosis (vine stress) - but the wines produced are rich and have a complex structure with ripe yellow fruit notes. Vineyards on coloured sandstone are less opulent in fruit notes but have a firmer more linear structure with a fresher acidity and a well-defined minerality. Both blended together, such as in this wine, create a complex yet nuanced style, which is refreshing and full of flavour.
Pinot Noir is one of Germany's great red varieties and this wine has been vinified in an international style to reflect the potential this grape has in Germany. The wine has vibrant fresh cherry flavours supported by spicy notes and seamless tannins, great complexity, texture and length with a refreshing acidity typical of cool climate Pinot Noirs. The grapes for the MINERALSTEIN Pinot Noir are sourced from terraced vineyard sites with specific soil types such as limestone and coloured sandstone. Here Pinot Noir finds the best balance to express its varietal qualities, texture and tannin structure. Vineyard management is meticulous to ensure that only the very best grapes are grown. Leaf plucking, green harvest and cover crops are the most important activities during season.