2020 El Enemigo Chardonnay Mendoza (Elsewhere $26)

SKU #1655299 96 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark This has aromas of ripe apricots, buttercream, baked apples and pastries. Medium-to full-bodied with a creamy, round and almost oily texture. Lovely balance of ripe fruit and toasted-pastry notes with bright acidity. Delicious finish. Fantastic value, as always. Inner quote mark (3/2022)

95 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark This wine showed its pedigree in our blind tasting, where its rich, layered orchard-fruit flavors were buttressed by well-integrated acidity. Pour a glass, put the rest into a decanter and enjoy the slow reveal of its white-mineral savor and golden wheat-field complexity. Winemaker Alejandro Virgil fermented the fruit—from Gualtallary and Tupungato—in 500-liter French oak barrels (35 percent new), allowing a partial veil of yeasts to form. With its elegant balance of complexity and power, this offers the satisfaction of a compelling white Burgundy on its own terms—a conversation starter and driver. Pretty stellar stuff. Inner quote mark (4/2023)

94 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2020 Chardonnay El Enemigo from Gualtallary, Uco Valley was aged in oak with flor for twelve months with 15% coming from other years. Yellowish green in the glass. The nose presents notes of hazel and chestnuts accompanied by green apple and expressive whiffs of chamomile and pineapple. In the mouth, it’s taut with heightened freshness and a compact character from the flor exposing the skeletal acidity. (JH) Inner quote mark (8/2022)

93 points Descorchados

Outer quote mark This chardonnay has a tense mouthfeel, as if someone were throwing a handful of stones. Although that's only at the level of texture, because the flavors are very fruity, rich in notes of tropical fruits and herbs, and accompanied by an acidity that not only intensifies that sensation of roughness, but also lends freshness to the flavors. This chardonnay comes from vineyards above 1,400 meters in the Gualtallary zone, in the north of the Uco Valley. It was aged for nine months in 500-liter barrels, a third of them made of new oak. Inner quote mark (12/2022)

93 points Tim Atkin

Outer quote mark Alejandro Vigil’s high-altitude Gualtallary Chardonnay contains 15% of wines from previous vintages, making it something of a solera style, complete with a little flor. Rich, textured and perfumed, with some stone fruit sweetness, nuanced 35% new oak and a salty undertone. Inner quote mark (6/2022)

92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Shows Viognier-like floral notes of gardenia and honeysuckle, with an elegant yet rich body of peach and pineapple. Reveals hints of thyme and mineral on the lengthy finish. (AR) *Smart Buy* Inner quote mark (11/2022)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark Delicate notes of mango, lime and honey form a delicious nose. On the palate, lime, mango and pineapple light up this medium-bodied wine as moderate acidity balances the flavors. A touch of chamomile tea and leafy notes add complexity to the finish. (JV) Inner quote mark (4/2023)

K&L Notes

This is the best value Chardonnay from South America, maybe the world, for the last 5 years. No Chardonnay has received as many great reviews at such a great price. A collaboration between longtime Catena winemaker Alejandro Vigil and the youngest Catena daughter, Adrianna, Bodegas Aleanna has been receiving a massive amount of critical acclaim over the past several years for their extraordinary wines. The "El Enemigo" Chardonnay is a powerful wine, with fruit, structure, and acidity all in balance. Interestingly enough, a little bit of flor resides in the barrels where this wine ages.

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Product Reviews:

By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/19/2023 | Send Email
A K&L Favorite. This wine does the impossible. This is rich, full, textured, and has beautiful ripe fruit notes. It is also crisp, vibrant, balanced with minerality, and a savory note. AND it is reasonably priced. There are other wines out there that can do what this wine does, but at least 5X the price. And this is not a one off, this has been this way for years! This is a Unicorn of a wine that hides in a place where most people do not look for Chardonnay, the foothills of the Andes. This is a buy-a-case kind of wine. A perfect wine to open for when you have company, it is for those people who like big CA Chards and those terroir hounds that talk about rocks and minerality.

By: Michael Pires | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/17/2023 | Send Email
A fantastic Chardonnay with notes of orchard fruit, pineapple, pie crust, honeysuckle, and lemon. This chardonnay is well balanced with bright acidity and a long finish. It will be hard to find a better Chardonnay for the price!

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/17/2023 | Send Email
A vibrant nose of golden apples, pie crust, vanilla bean and some citrus. In the mouth, it starts off very bright and bouncy, then fills out with apricot, ripe green apples, very light (and neutral) oak, pineapple and orange. This is a very delicious chardonnay that comes in at an exceptional price for the quality. It really fits the bill for me because I am not a fan of overly heavy chardonnay.

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