The Sour Grape

Bodega Atamisque Catalpa Chardonnay Uco Valley 2012

Top quality Burgundian style Chardonnay from Argentina’s Uco Valley.

Top quality Burgundian style Chardonnay from Argentina’s Uco Valley.

Argentina, heartland for the Malbec revolution, has one aspect going for it above all other new world wine regions, altitude… lots and lots variable altitude. As a country, Argentina’s on the smoking hot side of the Andes, whereas Chile gets all the cooling ocean influence on the other. However, what Argentina has going for it is the Andes themselves, and they’ve been busy making use of all that height to plant vinyards where temperatures are cooler and the sun shines brighter. The highest vinyards in the Mendoza wine region are located in the Uco Valley (1000 to 1450 meters above sea level), making it the ideal location for grow cooler climate grape varieties like Chardonnay… which is a long-winded way of explaining why this new world wine is surprisingly old world in it’s style. In the glass it has a pale lemon-green colour, with green (apple), citrus (lemon), stone (peach) and tropical (Pineapple) fruit aroma underpinned by creamy butter, green almond/hazelnut/vanilla and a faint hint of oak. On the palate there’s ripe concentrated stone fruit (peach/nectarine) and Pineapple, with an aromatic intensity underpinned by a clean acidity. This is very well balanced wine, with freshness and acidity on one side and creamy texture and complexity on the other. The alcohol is high at 14.5%, but well integrated and comes across more like 13%… and the finish, lemon butter and almond all the way! You’d have to pay a fortune for a wine of this style from Burgundy, so while it’s not cheep it’s still great value for money. £14.99 from The Oxford Wine Company.

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