Bodega Catena Zapata – Catena Alta Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina 2008

New World Chardonnay never used to be the most appealing of wine to me. Too often I found it over-oaked, blandly buttery and lacking any real individual character.

This is, of course, nonsense.

The truth of the matter is that Chardonnay is not a grape that takes to skimping on quality lightly. If you really want to experience what this wonderful grape is truly capable of, you must be willing to part with a little more cash than you might be used to for a New World wine.

Catena Alta Chardonnay – from Argentinian maestro Nicolás Catena – is a prime example of what can be accomplished with South American Chardonnay.

Harvested predominately from special plots of the unique Adrianna vineyard – some 5,000 feet above sea level – and undergoing a further rigorous selection process at the winery. The due care given to the grapes is rewarded tenfold in the finished wine.

The first thing to strike you is the wine’s irresistibly rich, precious, golden colour.

On the nose – juicy apples and citrus fruit with notes of smoke and a slight nuttiness.

Luxurious velvety textures envelop your mouth with glorious flavours of ripe pear and refreshing lychees. The pleasant warmth of alcohol displays no harshness and a mouthwatering tail of peaches, apricots and lemon meringue leaves you wanting for that next sip.

A sensationally complex and delicious wine. Highly recommended.

€25 / £20

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