Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Argentine wine, as with some aspects of Argentine cuisine, has its roots in Spain. The wines started being exported during the 1990s, and are currently growing in popularity, making it now the largest wine exporter in South America. The most important wine regions of the country are located in the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan and La Rioja. Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro and more recently Southern Buenos Aires are also wine producing regions. The Mendoza province produces more than 60% of the Argentine wine. Due to the high altitude and low humidity of the main wine producing regions, Argentine vineyards rarely face the problems of insects, fungi, molds and other grape diseases that affect vineyards in other countries. This allows cultivating with little or no pesticides, enabling even organic wines to be easily produced. There are many different varieties of grapes cultivated in Argentina, reflecting the country's many immigrant groups. The French brought Malbec, which makes most of Argentina's best known wines. The Italians brought vines that they called Bonarda, although Argentine Bonarda appears to be the Douce noir of Savoie, also known as Charbono in California. It has nothing in common with the light fruity wines made from Bonarda Piemontese in Piedmont. Torrontés is another typically Argentine grape and is mostly found in the provinces of La Rioja, San Juan, and Salta. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties are becoming more widely planted.
- Item #: i_377778Bottle Size: 750mlAlamos Malbec captures the spirit and terroir of Argentina’s signature variety. Grown at high-altitudes, the 2018 Malbec offers layers of dark cherry and blackberry and a velvety mouthfeel. Aromas of violet intertwine with spice and vanilla, while balanced tannins create a velvety mouthfeel and expansive finish. The 2018 Malbec delivers a complex fine red wine that pairs beautifully with a wide range of cuisine and goes beyond the expected.
90% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah
- Item #: i_383441Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+We love this Malbec and are ecstatic to receive their latest release for our shelves! That the 2017 received a 96+ Point score from Wine Advocate is not surprising-- this wine from Gualtallary is all about terroir, that sense of place that great wines evoke, showcasing how the best wines really are made in the vineyard. Of course, it helps to have a world-class team in the winery, which is the case here, making this wine shine even brighter. This wine has gained quite a bit of traction in our cellar over the last few years and this year's version may be the best of all. Buy and drink and enjoy with confidence!
Founded in 1995 by a group of Italian wine-making luminaries, including Alberto Antonini of Antinori and Antonio Morescalchi, Altos Las Hormigas has always been evolving. Their pioneering Terroir Project is an integral part of the burgeoning appellation system in Mendoza, and strives to show Malbec's diversity of expression according to its origin. After seeing the immense potential of the Uco Valley, the team decided to stop using new oak and small barriques; and instead go with older, untoasted, large oak foudres across the board. Furthermore, they teamed up with Pedro Parra, who many consider to be the world's foremost authority (and only PhD) in terroir, to find the ideal sites for their plantings as well as a way to assess the ideal ripeness of their fruit. Parra literally dug thousands of soil pits in the Uco Valley searching out the spots with the highest concentration of limestone in the soil, and the results are quite simply staggering!
WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "After some ups and downs in past vintages, the 2017 Malbec Appellation Gualtallary is every bit as good as the already superb 2016. It's expressive, mineral and vertical, austere, like biting into chalk. It's produced with grapes from a rented plot in a somewhat fashionable appellation that is quite large and diverse. The palate is super austere, dry, serious and mineral, while the nose is expressive and has the wilderness of the place with unusual elegance and freshness for a year like 2017. It finishes long and tasty, with some violets. Could this be their best Gualtallary to date?"
- Item #: i_378990Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Vinous Media: 90 PointsJames Suckling: 91Decanter: 90 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "This is a no-wood malbec with such pretty and enticing aromas and flavors. Dark berry and green tea undertones. Medium-to-full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink now."
DECANTER 90 POINTS - "Bright red fruits, savoury herbs and leafy notes lead to a crunchy, fresh red apple and cherry palate. Pure and elegant."
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The unoaked Malbec 2017 Aruma is 100% from Valle de Uco, and they want to show the pure expression of the grape in the place. This wine was born in 2009 and represents a very good value as an introduction to Valle de Uco. It's very juicy and fruit-driven, and it seems to have evolved positively since the last time I tasted it. Very pleasant, easy to drink, pure, clean and easy to like. 400,000 bottles produced. There are two or three bottlings from the same blend."
- Item #: i_381180Bottle Size: 750mlBen Marco has been one of our favorite value-priced Malbec’s for some time. Showcasing rich, dark fruit and silky tannins, this is a delicious, crowd pleasing wine. It has the concentration and juicy flavors we love along with impressive lift and vibrancy.
- Item #: i_377824Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Aromas of spices, smoke, berries and bark follow through to a medium body, medium round tannins and a wonderful finish. Love the finish of this, which gives a hint of walnuts, dark tea and ripe fruit. Very sophisticated. A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon."
Bodegas Caro was born of an alliance between two wine cultures, (French and Argentine), two noble grape varieties, (Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec), and two royal families of winemaking, (Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolas Catena.) The name of the winery, Bodegas Caro is a contraction of the two family names, CAtena and ROthschild. Their plan was to produce a wine that would combine their expertise and the signature grapes of each producer. Together, these families have made a wine which delivers immediate gratification and can also be cellared over the mid-term.
Malbec is a powerful, exuberant fruity grape variety that benefits from the structure and elegance given by the Cabernet. These two grape varieties go well together with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Bodegas Caro has succeeded in making a wine that is flat-out gorgeous and immensely satisfying.
- Item #: i_380673Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Approximately half of the volume of the 2017 Amancaya matured in oak barrels, and the other half was kept in concrete vats for one year. This comes from vineyards in Altamira, and the barrels used for the élevage are mostly in barriques produced by Lafite that have a very light toast, with the idea to preserve the aromatics of the wine and let it breath and provide structure in the élevage without interfering with the aromas. The oak is very nicely integrated and folded into the fruit, and the wine comes through as quite pure and fruit driven, with moderate ripeness and a harmonious palate. This was born as the classical second wine in a Bordeaux sense. This wine is sold in Argentina as Petit Caro. 350,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2018."
60% to 70% Malbec, 30% to 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep ruby color. The nose is expressive with notes of red fruits, coffee and black pepper. Complex on the palate with aromas of plums, fruit and spices, this well-balanced wine is an elegant expression of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Item #: i_382549Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "As traditional as it gets, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was kept in the winery until Patti thought the wine was ready to drink. He's in search of an elegant, classical and polished wine that still keeps the varietal character but does not show the effect of the wood. The color, aromas and flavors are quite developed, nuanced and polished, with complexity and detail. It does have the herbal and spicy character of the grape (all the textbook descriptors are there: tobacco, forest floor, something herbal) and the warmth of the vintage and the place. It's harmonious, with moderate alcohol and good freshness. It's just delicious, like a trip to the past."
- Item #: i_382519Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2015 Malbec is a classic from Perdriel in Luján de Cuyo, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in a combination of concrete vats and used oak barrels. 2015 was a slightly warmer vintage than 2014, and the wine shows round, with juicy fruit and still primary flavors of ripe berries and faint spices. The palate is sleek and lush, soft and caressing, easy to drink."
- Item #: i_380668Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "Cropped from a cooler and wetter year, the 2016 Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae was bottled with six months less time in oak than in other years. The wines are somehow "lighter" and more mineral, and they didn't want the oak to mark them. This comes from deeper soils that deliver more fruit, and of the three reds from Adrianna, this is always the one that shows more gentle, approachable and open, with more fruit up front. There are some notes of tobacco and spices. Considering how young the wine is and the fact that it will not be released for another year, the wine is going to be immediately appealing on release but should also develop nicely in bottle. The 2016 is the most complete of the three vintages I tasted together—2014, 2015 and 2016. They bottled some 5,000 bottles in March 2018."
- Item #: i_377302Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94James Suckling: 92WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "...fermented in tank with full clusters and finished fermenting after pressing, without skins. It's serious and elegant, with the year's signature freshness. 2016 has really marked the wines with great freshness. This is serious and with zero sweetness, complete and direct. "
JAMES SCUKLING 92 POINTS - "Plenty of cocoa powder as well as violets follow through to some serious tannins that are already well integrated. They and the crisp acidity give the dry finish some assertive power."
- Item #: i_380810Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 95Argentina continues to put out wines that offer good value, and it's more than just Malbec. That lesser-known Bordeaux variety might have helped garner them recognition, but many of the best wines here (and in the rest of the world for that matter) rely on the art of blending other varieties to create a more complex and balanced whole. That was fundamental to the "Clos de los Siete" wine project, whose aim was to make a well-priced, widely distributed wine that was also high in quality. With a score of 95 Points from James Suckling for the 2017 vintage, we'd call it a success! And what's more, we're offering it at the best price possible, $15.95!
The project's founder, Michel Roland, built his world-famous reputation as a winemaking consultant and master blender, bringing many wineries up to the standards of the modern wine palate, and helping launch new wines. His first step toward "Clos de los Siete" came when he helped find a large enough site in the high-altitude foothills of the Andes mountains that could grow high-quality grapes (which would become the "clos," the French term for an enclosed vineyard). The next step was to bring in six winemaking friends, forming the "siete" (seven), whose four separate wineries could help to vinify the various plots in smaller batches from which Michel would create a final wine.
Bright berry aromas of blackberries and black cherry lead the way, with hints of cedar and vanilla from the aging in small French oak barrels. In the mouth, the sweetness of fruit leads the way, but it is quickly apparent that there is a beautiful line of balancing acidity, attributed to the cool high-altitude nights in the Uco Valley. Juicy and medium-full in body, the palate has flavors reminiscent of woodsy undergrowth accompanying the berries and subtle creamy vanilla. The finish is clean and dry, with tangy fruit and light tannin that is soft due to the perfectly ripened fruit. We suggest drinking a wine like this on the cooler side (60 F), especially as the weather warms up; that will make it perfect with your mixed grill or weeknight socializing with a charcuterie plate!
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "A very refined, creamy wine, showing blackberries and blueberries with chocolate and light hazelnut notes. Medium to full body. The fine tannins are polished and creamy and the beautiful, reserved finish goes on for a really long time. Wow! Best ever, because of its length and beauty. One for the palate or the cellar. Drink or hold."
The four wineries contributing to the project are Monteviejo, Cuvelier los Andes, DiamAndes, and Bodega Rolland.
- Item #: i_382774Bottle Size: 750mlCocodrilo is a new project from Paul Hobbs, with this wine appearing for the first time in the United States. This Cabernet-dominant blend boasts an enviable combination of power and finesse. It is full-bodied with pure, concentrated fruit and is certain to please Hobbs' many fans. Paul Hobbs is well-known for his exceptional California wines, crafting masterful renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. When visiting Argentina in 1989, Paul became enamored with its people, the culture and the huge potential for viticulture. He and his Argentine partners founded Viña Cobos and helped take winemaking in Argentina to a new level. He has had great success making premium priced wines and Cocodrilo demonstrates his ability to make a compelling Bordeaux-style blend at an affordable price.
Opaque purple in color. An aromatic display of exotic spices and concentrated black fruits including black currant and black cherry along with notes of cedar and baker's chocolate. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with mouth-filling crème de cassis, ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors. The tannins are fine-grained and oh so silky. The wine demonstrates stunning purity and finishes with noteworthy length; very impressive.
- Item #: i_380683Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91James Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Brimming with blueberry, violet and bitter chocolate notes, this is an extravagant yet very fresh and well-structured expression of Salta malbec. If you can give it until 2020, then the bold, dry tannins will soften and may make it more elegant. "
WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Malbec Estate is a blend of grapes from their four terroirs at 1,750, 2,300, 2,700 and 3,111 meters in altitude. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for 18 months in French oak barrels, 10% of them new. All Salta wines have intensity and ripeness, and this is no exception. But the challenge is to find elegance and balance, which this one does nicely within its XL style. It is dark and heady yet harmonious. "
"A Swiss businessman and Napa vintner Donald Hess bought Bodega Colomé in 2001 and immediately set about modernizing the vineyards and winery in the remote Salta region of the Andes, in the north of Argentina. The estate Malbec, a 100 percent varietal bottling, blends fruit from four vineyards ranging from 5,700 to a dizzying 10,200 feet in altitude; the sun exposure at such elevations promotes thicker skins on berries and thus a more concentrated wine. After 15 months of aging in French oak barriques, this wine spent six months in bottle. It's an expression of a daunting terroir at an approachable price." - Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator
- Item #: i_380452Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91James Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Here is the Salta mountain freshness! A really enticing combination of melon, floral and a wide spectrum of delicate citrus aromas. I love the balance of juicy fruit and crisp acidity that gives the bold, long finish a lot of life. "
The characteristic white wine grape of Argentina has recently been linked with the Malvasia grape vis-à-vis DNA research. And the wonderful aromas released certainly suggest a Malvasia heritage: notes of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and general floral tones; simply beautiful. The palate echoes the florals and again, stone fruits come to the fore, all enwrappedin a light background minerality.
Substainably farm Vineyards.Sustainable winegrowing not only improves wine quality, but helps to compete in the global market place where consumers are increasingly interested in knowing that the foods and wines they enjoy are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.” Robert P. Koch, President & CEO of the Wine Institute.
- Item #: i_381178Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Vinous Media: 93 PointsDecanter: 93 PointsWe have enjoyed Susana Balbo's Crios wines for years and it's easy to figure out why... These are very well made, immensely flavorful wines that showcase the terroir of their homeland while not costing a fortune-- bravo for this bang-for-a-buck beauty!
Susana Balbo not only became the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honors from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981, but also was brave enough (or crazy enough as some would have thought at that time) to build an export category for Malbec when no one knew about this grape variety.
Crios is a brand that combines the sensibility of Susana's 30+ years of experience with her never-ending quest for innovation. Born in Argentina, a large country with a wide range of climates, soils and altitudes, Crios wines are harvested from specific areas in Mendoza and Salta where grapes are optimal for the fruit-forward style of the focus on for this brand.
Our notes: "Dark red and black plums on the nose, joined by midnight garden floral scents, blackberry, dark spices, black licorice, herbal notes. Lush texture in the mouth with rounded, soft tannins and light acidity on the finish. The palate reiterates the nose with tons of mixed black fruits, vanilla bean and lighter spices. Soft red and blue fruits on the long finish." Pair with tuna steak, lamb, hamburgers.
DECANTER 93 POINTS - "Paz Levinson: What a cracking wine! Black plum and violet aromas lead to a fresh and crunchy palate, with balanced alcohol. Fresh, pure – and amazing value. Patricio Tapia: Incredible value here. This is a pure expression of Malbec, with aromas of violets and filled with cherry notes. An impressive expression of the grape. Drinking Window 2018 - 2020"
WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2017 Críos Malbec saw a change in the range, where the oak staves have been discontinued and only 30% percentage of the wine aged in well-seasoned neutral oak barrels. This is perfumed and juicy, with nice ripeness and a tasty palate. It is very accessible and comes from a typical vintage in which the wine managed to maintain moderate alcohol. 2017 was a low-yielding year, the second shortest in the last few years."
Susana not only became the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honors from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981, but also was brave enough (or crazy enough as some would have thought at that time) to build an export category for Malbec when no one knew about this grape variety.
Susana elaborated this distinguished variety which stands out for its notes of black cherries, spices and violets.
In a few words:
FRUITY WITH SPICY NOTES.
- Item #: i_382548Bottle Size: 750mlCuvelier Los Andes is a project from Bordeaux's legendary Cuvelier family, owners of Le Crock, Camensac and Léoville-Poyferré. It is bright purple-colored, with an opaque center and a muted nose that requires plenty of air and coaxing to unfurl the heady, ripe black fruit and violet aromas with a lactic overtone. It has a full-bodied palate and a lush texture, thick and dense, with good acidity, freshness and balance. This is a very good, powerful Malbec at a very good price.
- Item #: i_380436Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 94JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is a tannic and powerful red with a linear backbone and blue fruits. Full to medium body, a racy backbone and a long, intense finish. Shows focus and muscle. Leave for two or three years."
The origins of the Cuvelier family’s wine exploits begin in Bordeaux in the early twentieth century with the purchase of Château le Crock in St. Estèphe in 1903. But, for many, they are best known for their ownership of Château Leoville Poyferré, which they bought in 1920. In the 1990s, the family spread their wings as they turned their attention to Mendoza in Argentina, working first with Michel Rolland and then by 1999, they had begun to plant their own vineyards.
A big, grippy red, with dense, powerful and lavishly spiced flavors of blackberry, dark plum and dried cherry. Creamy midpalate, presenting a long, rich finish filled with pepper and cocoa powder notes.
- Item #: i_380419Bottle Size: 750MLCuvelier Los Andes is owned by Bertrand and Jean-Guy Cuvelier, part-owners of renowned Bordeaux Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in Saint Julien. The estate is located in the Uco Valley at the foothills of the Andes and encompasses 115 acres of still young vines. The consulting winemaker is Michel Rolland."
- Item #: i_378659Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94One of the greatest values coming out of Argentina has to be the 2017 Durigutti Cabernet Franc. In a country best known for producing Malbec, it is increasingly other varietals which intrigue us and have us reaching for another glass. Such is the case for this Cabernet Franc, which displays full-bodied flavors of dark fruit, tobacco and cocoa with fine, silky tannins. Wine critic James Suckling gave Durigutti a score of 94 Points.
Those in the know will tell you Cabernet Franc is capable of greatness, sharing many qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon while adding a bright, savory quality. At their small winery in Luján, Héctor and Pablo Durigutti craft artisan wines. Both have extensive winemaking experience in Argentina and abroad and have developed a winemaking style that blends old world tradition with modern innovation.
Their boutique Durugutti project bears their name and is a continuing source of pride and joy. This wine was sourced from the Agrelo and La Consulta vineyards during the excellent 2017 growing season. The slow, even ripening led to an abundant crop of healthy grapes with fermentation occurring using native yeasts. The wine was then perfectly aged for 12 months French and American oak. The result is a wine with freshness, vibrant fruit and considerable aromatic complexity.
The Durigutti Cabernet Franc is a delicious wine that is firing on all cylinders with gorgeous fruit and silky smooth tannins. It is a wine that stands out for its quality and over-deliver for the price-point.
Deep ruby with purple highlights. Expressive aromatics with dark fruits including black cherry, black raspberry along with notes of baking spice, tobacco and cocoa leaping from the glass. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a generous mid-palate and velvety tannins. The fruit is fresh and ripe showcasing kirsch, black cherry, blackberry, damson plum and black raspberry. The oak aging regimen is well-judged, making this wine complete and leading to a lingering finish of ripe fruit, baking spices, dark chocolate and vanilla bean.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is very floral and inviting on the nose with notes of rosemary, violets, lavender, citrus, orange peel and boysenberries, as well as lots of spicy undertones. Full-bodied and really seductive with tightly-wound, grainy tannins, vibrant acidity and a long, succulent finish."
- Item #: i_378254Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94If you're looking for a dry, bold red that's under $20, we've got another winner for you! James Suckling scored the 2018 Durigutti Cabernet Sauvignon at 94 points, and we're pricing it at just $14.98! Formed in 2002 by brothers Hector and Pablo Durigutti, this winery is an example of the modern Argentina that seeks to reflect its place of origin rather than compromise with an international style. Their 'Black Label' Cabernet Sauvignon is a good introduction to their winemaking, which shows juicy, but restrained ripe fruit, and the bright natural acidity that comes from the high-altitude, sun-bathed vineyards of La Consulta in the Uco Valley and Agrelo in the Lujan de Cuyo, along with the softening of texture provided by a year in neutral oak barrels.
PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This does a wonderful balancing act between concentration and freshness from the outset on the nose. Black cherries, dark plums and blackberries all intermingle with fresh herbs, minerals and spices. The palate is so finely cut with well-integrated threads of blue fruit, interlaced between sturdy tannins. Medium on the finish. Drink now or hold."
- Item #: i_382241Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98Cabernet Franc is enjoying a renaissance in quality with passionate winemakers moving Cab Franc out of the "supporting role" and into the limelight. There is much to celebrate as a truly great Cabernet Franc offers plenty of muscle like a Cabernet Sauvignon, but there is a mix of satiny textures and perfumed elegance that is a shade more layered and elegant than most Cabernet Sauvignon. Cheval Blanc in St Emilion used to stand alone as the flag-bearer of what great Cabernet Franc could be, but Alejandro Vigil in Argentina is obsessively proving that Argentina's Cabernet Francs will take on the world. Alejandro is best known for the diverse and beautiful wines he makes for the Catena family, but Cabernet Franc is a personal passion and with his own "El Enemigo" label, also known as "Bodega Aleanna," Alejandro Vigil works obsessively on Cabernet Franc. El Enemigo makes SIX wines based on Cabernet Franc. In the 2014 vintage 4 of the 6 scored 96 pts or higher in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. In the 40+ year history of the publication there have been less that 60 Cab Francs to score that high-roughly 1.5 per year. 4 scores that high in one year is ASTOUNDING. So is the wine. The Gran Enemigo "Gualtallary" Vineyard is emerging as Alejandro Vigil's benchmark wine in the series. We recommend a decanter, some good friends, and time to watch to this one unfold.
WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "I also tasted the 2014 Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard, which might take some months to come into the market. It has some balsamic aromas, medicinal hints, traces of orange peel, saffron and a touch of sweet spices. It's built around very fine tannins and a notable core of acidity that acts as backbone, giving it length and lifting up the finish. This is quite in line with the 2010 vintage, with power and freshness in a rare combination of clout and elegance only the very best wines manage to show. There are some 3,000 bottles of this wine. It was bottled in March 2017."
- Item #: i_378972Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 98We just got in the latest Chardonnay from the phenomenal Argentinian winery, El Enemigo, and it's certainly not "just another Chardonnay!" The aromas are absolutely enticing, swirling among notes of ripe pears and peaches, marcona almond, with toasted notes and subtle vanilla. In the mouth, the satiny, full texture glides in and is ushered along by a beautifully balancing acidity. The flavors are a complex melange of very ripe apple or pear and succulent peach, nougat (vanilla & nuts), a saline thread, along with subtle savory yeast lees and toasted oak accents. The finish rides a delicate line, neither sweet nor bone dry, but a succulent/savory sendoff that beckons another taste.
It shouldn't be too surprising that the wine is so good, as El Enemigo has the pedigree: it's a collaboration between Adriana Catena and the chief winemaker for Catena Zapata, Alejandro Vigil. The winery was named to represent their irreverence for the status quo ("the enemy"), and their Chardonnay certainly lives up to that, as it's made in a style that breaks from the norm!
In a unique twist for most Chardonnays, El Enemigo's is aged almost completely under a "veil" of yeast that serves as a barrier between the wine and oxygen, a common technique in the Jura region of France (a more dramatic form is used in making many styles of Sherry). Such partially exposed wine contributes subtle, slightly oxidative aromas and flavors like bruised fruits and nuts, and the contribution of the yeast adds some floral aromas and a savory sensation; there is often a "saline" quality to such wines. Along with that are those fresher fruit flavors of a classic Chardonnay grown in the intense sunlight of the high-altitude Gualtallary region of Mendoza, Argentina.
On the heels of their monumental 2014 "Gran Enemigo" Cabernet Franc (with a 98-point score from Wine Advocate), their 2017 Chardonnay is another win, with a 98-point score from James Suckling!
JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS – "A tight and beautiful white with a dense palate of beautiful, ripe lemons and apples. Layered and refined with phenolic tension. Complex yeast and hints of oak and flor. Full body. Great length. 80 per cent flor-growth in barrel. Drink now."