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There is a reason why Chardonnay is called the “queen of whites”. This grape variety shows exceptional diversity and clearly communicates its origin.
The first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about Chardonnay is “the queen of whites”. It earned this recognition due to its noteworthy characteristics and versatility. What’s more, it’s the grape variety that has given birth to wines from regions of Chablis and Montrachet in France, which are recognized worldwide.
It is undoubtedly one of the main white varieties in France but gradually, it is playing an important role in Argentina too. The most important projects can be found in Uco Valley or San Rafael wine regions of Mendoza, where 4,886 of 5,229 hectares are of Chardonnay. Additionally, it’s used as a base wine for the production of several sparkling wines.
In Argentina, diverse styles of this grape variety coexist. According to Andres Vignoni, the winemaker at Viña Cobos, the versatility, typical of the variety, is the key to a bright future. “It was essential that the regions of plantation increased and now there is Chardonnay from high altitudes at the North to Patagonia in the south, from warm to cool areas… great contributions of diversity and terroir”.
Chardonnay possesses the ability to adapt to almost any region and climate. That makes it a very transparent variety, ideal to elaborate wines with a sense of place.
Sebastian Zuccardi, Chief Winemaker at Zuccardi Valle de Uco believes that “Since it’s not extremely aromatic, it keeps the characteristics of the place. That’s why it takes the shape of the place it comes from”. This is the reason he chose to plant it in San Pablo, at 1,400 MASL. The coldest average weather in Uco valley, where he produces Fósil Chardonnay.
Sebastian highlights that he “was looking for freshness, acidity, herbal aromas besides the typical ones of fruits. It’s the result of a search for the expression of this landscape and its cool climate”.
Taking advantage of the faithfulness of Chardonnay to its origin is something that Andres Vignoni also highlights. He believes that in this journey “there’s a search for less intrusive methods, respecting native fermentations and making products with greater expression and diversity”.
Project Otronia has been developing a very peculiar work. Located in the province of Chubut, these are the most southern vineyards in Argentina. They planted 50 hectares for an endeavour that was initially destined to produce base wines for sparklings. They believed that the cool climate would affect the ripening of the grapes.
“We were wrong because, in the end, the grapes ripened really well due to the solar radiation”, tells Pablo Murgia and adds “we get a chardonnay with an aromatic profile, really fruity and floral, with some mineral notes and a natural acidity which they don’t achieve in Mendoza”.
The plasticity and adaptation of this variety are accompanied by an incredible aging potential thanks to its lower levels of ph.
For example, Trapiche Medalla 1983. It is considered as the first premium wine of Argentina and the wine variety of this line was Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and, mainly, Chardonnay. Sergio Casé, the enologist at Trapiche Wines, tells us that he tasted it recently and the wine retains its “clearness and a positive evolution”. Today, Trapiche produces Gran Medalla Chardonnay inspired by the vintage ’83.
Without a doubt, Chardonnay is an emblematic grape variety that faithfully expresses its origin in excellent wines and displays a diverse range of terroir.
Producers: Wine Fanatics and producers Giuseppe Franceschini and Marcelo Victoria have more than 20 years of experience in the wine industry, and they are amongst the people who were responsible for putting Argentina on the world wine map by producing premium wines.
In Spanish, Marejada refers to the state of the sea which creates new swirls of waves repeatedly. This exquisite Chardonnay was inspired by this natural phenomenon and creates a new feel in the mouth each time you sip it. It is derived from the grapes with high botrytis cinerea (wine fungus) which imparts exotic complexity and profoundness to this one of a kind wine. It is indeed a perfect representation of European and Argentinian Wine Styles. Only 740 bottles of this beauty were made!
Journalist. WSET® L2 Wines & Spirits. Passionate about communicating the wonderful world of wine. Member of ‘Argentina Wine Bloggers’. Critic at ‘Vino Sub30 2015 edition’. Collaborator in Argentine Association of Sommeliers.