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Two from the Southern Hemisphere - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 09-11-2008 04:48 PM

More Chardonnays for the September Wine Focus on another board:

After two different tastings (Fayetteville Wine Society meeting and charity event in Pinehurst for Moore County Literacy) I ended up buying two bottles of a Chardonnay from Chile and one bottle from Argentina (I have very limited experience with South American wines.)

I first opened the 2005 CASA LAPOSTOLLE CUVEE ALEXANDRE CHARDONNAY, ATALAYAS VINEYARD, CASABLANCA VALLEY, CHILE.
Company founded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle. For six generations her family has produced the liqueur Grand Marnier (which I like to use when cooking an orange double souffle.) Dedicated to her great-grandfather Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. Label says: "Cool Pacific Ocean breezes. Part fermented in steel vats and part in French barrels to ensure freshness and complexity."
14.5% alcohol
Pale to medium gold color. Viscous. A little spice on the nose along with slight ammonia scent and white fruits. Palate conveys fruit cocktail backed by some oak. I liked this at the Fayetteville Wine Society meeting but opened on the same day that I finished a Ferrari-Carano Emelia's Cuvee Chardonnay, it came out decidedly in second place. I probably would not purchase again.

A few nights later I opened the 2005 CATENA ALTA CHARDONNAY, BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA.
From Adrianna Vineyard at almost 5,000 feet elevation in the Andean foothills. Catena Alta Chardonnay is made from a special lot, rows 5 through 38 and is barrel fermented. 100% Chardonnay, 100% natural yeast, 100% malolactic fermentation. Sur lies aging for 12 months in French oak, 50% new.
13.9% alcohol acidity/pH 5.50/3.35
About the same color as the Lapostolle Alexandre Cuvee and transparent. Perhaps even more viscous. Rich tasting with hints of apple slices in vanilla sauce and also tropical fruit. Some complexity. This tracks with the CellarTrack notes on the 2005 and 2006 vintages which tend to mention vanilla, apple, pear and pineapple. (Some also say creamy or buttery but I definitely found it more like the warm vanilla sauce sometimes poured over apple pie or tart in place of whipped cream.) I didn't feel the new oak was overbearing. Enjoyable both on its own as a sipper or with spinach and cream cheese-filled pastry. I tried it with fresh nectarine slices but that combo did not work. I prefer this to the Lapostolle although some might prefer the less rich style of the Alexandre Cuvee. I would purchase the Catena Alta again.

I will probably switch to a red wine this weekend and maybe next week until I can pick up some Chablis that I have waiting for me in Raleigh. (I have a church retreat this weekend along North Carolina coast.)


- brappy - 09-11-2008 05:29 PM

Great notes Wonders! You nailed both wines perfectly. The Catena Alta is a real QPR. The tropical fruit note you mentioned really shows off the fruit. The fruit hits you right away, staying with you till the finish where the oak peaks out in the end. Spot on balance. This wine is hard to put down.

mark


- wondersofwine - 09-15-2008 10:50 AM

Thanks for your response Brappy. I titled it Southern Hemisphere but got to thinking that South America may not be all Southern Hemisphere. (I've always been a bit weak on geography.) I will probably try to buy more of the Catena Alta.


- Innkeeper - 09-15-2008 11:00 AM

Southern Hemisphere is everything below the Equator.


- wondersofwine - 09-15-2008 03:29 PM

Yes, IK but without looking at a globe or map I'm not sure what parts (if any) of South America extend below the equator. I would think some of Chile (extending toward Anarctica) but maybe not wine-growing regions which are usually more temperate climates.
(I just checked an atlas and the equator passes through northern Brazil so all of the wine regions of Chile and Argentina are below the equator--i.e., in the Southern Hemisphere.)



[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 09-15-2008).]


- brappy - 09-16-2008 02:05 AM

Most wine regions are between 43deg and 46deg latitude south or north.