2005 Catena "Alta" Chardonnay Mendoza, Argentina

SKU #1040186

92 points Wine Spectator: "Really enticing nose, with flavors of pineapple, cherimoya and yellow plum fruit. Has a suave grilled hazelnut streak and a long finish that shows excellent clarity. Drink now through 2009. 2,000 cases made." (02/08) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Alta Chardonnay comes from the Adrianna Vineyard at 4850 feet of elevation. It is 100% barrel-fermented using natural yeasts and went through full malolactic fermentation. It was aged sur-lie for 12 months in 60% new French oak. Light to medium gold in color, it has a distinguished aromatic profile of mineral, white flowers, toast, vanilla, apple, and poached pear. This is followed by a medium-bodied, concentrated, layered Chardonnay with flavors of fig and citrus also emerging on the palate. The wine has great balance and should evolve for another 2-3 years. It should age in the manner of a top-level white Burgundy and provide pleasure through 2014." (12/07) 92 points and an "Editors' Choice" from Wine Enthusiast: "Since we last tried this wine, Catena has dialed back the new oak and pumped up the natural acidity. And the result is pleasantly akin to fine Burgundy. Now the emphasis is on refined, Dijon-style apple and peach flavors with great mouthfeel. Drink now. (8/08)

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Price: $24.99

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

Argentina

- Argentina is regarded as one of the most dynamic wine-producing nations in the world, and possibly the most important wine-producing region in South America. Only four countries in the world produce more wine than Argentina. Considerable investments (much of which has come from famous French, Italian and California wine producers) have been made in new vineyards and winemaking technology in the past several years, which along with recent plantings of more premium varieties of grapes, has made Argentina much more competitive internationally. The Mendoza region is the most important region in Argentina's wine industry. And Malbec, among other Bordeaux varietals grown here, reigns supreme. Click for a list of bestselling items from Argentina.