El Enemigo – The Enemy. “At the end of the journey, we remember only one battle: the one we fought against ourselves, the original enemy. The one that defined us.” Wow, that’s pretty deep. This quote is on each bottle of El Enemigo, and it’s just the one of the reasons that I love this wine.
I picked this bottle up on a whim, because I thought the bottle was beautiful – and I had just had an Argentinian Chardonnay that I was really impressed with. If memory serves, I found this at Costco for $19.99, but I’m not 100% positive, so I searched online and Local Vine in Atlanta does carry it for $24.99.
The website for El Enemigo says coming soon, but the importer, Winebow, is a wealth of information (including tech sheets). This is one of those times where the more I learned, the more I loved. It’s not very often I buy a wine on a complete whim and it delivers on all levels.
El Enimigo is a collaboration between Alejandro Vigil, and Adrianna Catena. Yes that Catena. Alejandro is the Director of Winemaking for Catena Zapata. And Adrianna is the youngest daughter of Nicolas Cantena. If you are not familiar with Argentinian wine, the family started with cuttings from France when they immigrated to Argentina in 1902. Catena Zapata and Nicolas Cantena are credited with putting Argentinian wine on the world stage. But, I digress, because this wine is it’s own label, so let’s fast forward more than 100 years.
Alejandro is not only a winemaker, but a historian, a soil engineer, and an animal lover. According to the Winebow website, he keeps cows on his farm just so he can donate the milk to local school children. I think that makes him a lover of humans as well.
Adrianna Catena identifies as vintner, rather than winemaker, but she is also a historian, with a PhD from Oxford. Her older sister Laura, an M.D., also heads the family wine business, alongside their father. I love that these women have pursued other passions, obtaining advanced educations, but still have their heart and soul in wine.
Together Alejandro and Adrianna wanted to make a wine that honored the history and tradition of the wines from Argentina, something that might not fit the status quo, but that would represent the best that Argentina could offer. El Enemigo was the result. If critical acclaim is any indication, this collaboration was meant to be. Many of the wines El Enemigo produce have received huge praise, but the Cabernet Franc and this Chardonnay are resulting in a cult-like following for El Enemigo.
El Enemigo|2017 Chardonnay|ABV 13.5%|Medoza|$24.00
The grapes are 100% Chardonnay and come from the Uco Valley, from Gualtallary and Tupungato vineyards, at altitudes of around 4,700 feet.
The wine is fermented with wild yeast, and aged in 500 liter French barrels (35% new) for 9 months. Here is a twist though, this wine is aged under flor – like Fino Sherry -where the yeast creates a veil on top of the wine. This adds a level of complexity that I think it’s safe to say you are not going to find in another Chardonnay.
And complex it is, with aromas of apple, tea, vanilla – presumably from oak, but possibly from the baked, toasty, leesy notes. On the palate this wine has incredible acidity, a creamy, full bodied mouthfeel, with notes of apple, melon, citrus, and a salinity that is absolute perfection.
I’m really glad this bottle caught my eye. Have you tried this wine? Or any Argentinian Chardonnay? I’d love to hear your thoughts.