Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Chardonnay (Tara) by Ventisquero, Atacama Desert, Chile.
Rich golden color. Beautiful aromatic nose greets with lots of leather, more specifically a mushroom, woody leather quite unlike anything else I’ve tasted. I can’t quite pinpoint it exactly but it is reminiscent of fresh redwood and cedarwood. There are faint distant hints of black licorice. Berries and a touch of cantaloupe make an appearance as secondary and tertiary notes. Amazing!
Body is surprisingly balanced front to back. Acidity is restrained precisely balanced by buttery, creamy tannins in the form of subtle white cherries. This creates a full, lush, silky, luxurious, weighted mouth feel. The terroir and leathery notes remain front and center as in the nose but reveal their mineral underpinnings towards the back in the form of a slight chalky slate. Once opened up, this minerality becomes increasingly pronounced both in the body and nose. Transition to finish is seamless as it quickly vanishes over the palate. Unlike most chardonnay which leave your palate dry and tingling with spice, this one’s hallmark is an absolutely drenched, wet, moist (read drooling) palate. At 12.5% ABV, you can take your time and enjoy it without experiencing any palate fatigue.
This is a fine wine by all accounts. An impressive feat considering it was fermented in whole clusters using only naturally occurring yeast and pressed by foot! Unfiltered! Wild! I am absolutely floored by this Chardonnay. I need to look into this winemaker’s work and this region at large. It has truly been an honor and pleasure to get a look at this wine.
Bien hecho amigos!