The El Enemigo Chardonnay has scored 98 points for the second year in a row. This Jura-inspired Chardonnay is one of the top 2 or 3 Chardonnay values in the world, but it hails from Mendoza, Argentina. Keep reading, it gets better.
2017 El Enemigo Chardonnay
98 points James Suckling, 95 points Decanter
El Enemigo Chardonnay is the joint venture of Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena. Adrianna is Nicolas Catena’s youngest daughter and Alejandro has been the head winemaker at Catena Zapata since 2002. With this wine, they decided to make something a little bit different, something a little bit riskier. It obviously worked out, as this has turned into one of Argentina’s most talked about wines.
So what’s different and risky about it? Not much, other than the fact that the wine is aged “sous voile,” or “under a veil.” In this case, the veil is the flor yeast that forms a film over the surface of the wine in the barrel. This film protects the wine from oxidation while at the same time adding nutty, sea-briny complexities that enhance the bouquet and the flavor. The most famous examples of this wine would be Fino and Manzanilla sherries, as well as the the famed Vin Jaune (yellow wine) of France’s Jura region.
Whereas sherries and Vin Jaunes spend 6 years in barrel under the veil, the El Enemigo team are only leaving theirs for 13 months. The resulting wine certainly picks up some of the sous voile influence, but it’s not nearly as funky and nutty. It tastes more like a very fine Chardonnay with a few years of maturation — that salted caramel, nutty thing really stands out here.
And the critics have gone crazy over this one. Suckling described it as a “tight and beautiful white with a dense palate of beautiful, ripe lemons and apples.” And Master of Wine Tim Atkin of Decanter called it a “boundary-pushing white for Argentina.” I’ll add on to that. This drinks like a $50+ bottle of Chardonnay. Take one part White Burgundy (hazelnut, baking spice) and one part top-flight Russian River Chardonnay (ripe, pure orchard and tropical fruits), and that’s kind of what this tastes like. It truly offers up the best of both worlds.
Last year, all 10 cases of this one were gone in less than 24 hours. I suspect the same will happen this year. Stop by the store or use the contact form below to place your order. We’ll get back to you!
Owner/Operator at Table Wine