$15 WINES THAT TASTE LIKE $50: ARGENTINE CHARDONNAY

Argen­ti­na is known for its dyna­mic and diver­se mal­becs and aro­ma­tic torron­tes. Both are emble­ma­tic varie­ties for the country. But the qua­lity of char­don­nay here is also on the rise. Whi­le some of the pre­mium pro­du­cers such as Cate­na Zapa­ta and Cha­cra making ico­nic wines that cost as much as top wines from Bur­gundy, savvy buyers are trac­king down char­don­nays with great value.

We tas­ted 1,600 Argen­ti­ne wines in our trip during February. You can read the full report here. The best modern char­don­nay in Argen­ti­na offers a more refi­ned sty­le unders­co­ring purity, ele­gan­ce and tex­tu­re, and cool-cli­ma­te vine­yards are attrac­ting more atten­tion. Our best value wine in the world in 2018 was the El Enemi­go Char­don­nay Men­do­za 2016.

Uco Valley of Men­do­za is the stronghold for fine Argen­ti­ne char­don­nay. The out­crop­pings of limes­to­ne pro­vi­de per­fect terroir for the gra­pe, espe­cially in the pres­ti­gious Gual­ta­llary whe­re some vine­yards are situa­ted abo­ve 5,000 feet. At their best, the­se wines are full of zest and fresh­ness with lemony and chalky cha­rac­ters on a taut, linear pala­te. Lujan de Cuyo, on the other hand, is known more for its “clas­sic” sty­le, with riper, tro­pi­cal expres­sions of fruit and a sleek mouth-feel on a fleshier and roun­der pala­te. But with the trend for ear­lier har­vests and the quest for mid-pala­te ten­sion, the sty­le in Lujan is also get­ting more diverse.

Whi­le Men­do­za stands at the fore­front of this char­don­nay revo­lu­tion, Pata­go­nia and Sal­ta also show a lot of pro­mi­se. Pata­go­nia is known for some of the finest pinot noirs from Argen­ti­na, but is now also deli­ve­ring some of the purest expres­sions of char­don­nay with subtlety and pre­ci­sion par­ti­cu­larly from Cha­cra, which now makes ama­zing char­don­nay with Meursault’s legen­dary Jean-Michel Roulot.

For Sal­ta, whi­le the refreshingly aro­ma­tic torron­tes is still the most pro­mi­nent whi­te gra­pe, many pro­du­cers have also embar­ked on making high-alti­tu­de char­don­nays with great balan­ce bet­ween fresh­ness and ripeness.

Argen­ti­na may not be the first country that comes to mind for qua­lity char­don­nay, but it has many wallet-friendly choi­ces. And some­ti­mes, you can dis­co­ver real gems. With more pro­mi­sing terroirs being explo­red and new pro­du­cers on board, the futu­re for Argen­ti­ne char­don­nays that are both for­mi­da­ble and affor­da­ble is both exci­ting and far from concluded.

Check out our picks of the­se won­der­ful and extre­mely affor­da­ble Argen­ti­ne char­don­nays. Scroll down for the full tas­ting notes and sco­res (subs­cri­bers only).

Mas­co­ta Vine­yards Char­don­nay Men­do­za Uná­ni­me 2017
Avai­la­ble at Wine.com

Viña Cobos Char­don­nay Men­do­za Felino 2017
Avai­la­ble at Wine.com

Cate­na Char­don­nay Valle de Uco Tupun­ga­to 2019
Avai­la­ble at Wegmans.com

Zuc­car­di Char­don­nay Tupun­ga­to Valle de Uco Q 2018

Domai­ne Bous­quet Char­don­nay Tupun­ga­to Valle de Uco Reser­ve 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

eighteen − sixteen =

Menu