Hooray for Chardonnay Part Two: Die Charder

A few more delicious Chards for your late-winter’s perusal.

Domaine Faiveley Ladoix Blanc 2016, Burgundy, France. I can already hear “what’s a Ladoix” forming on everyone’s lips, so let me explain: Ladoix is 1) a tiny village/AOC just below the eastern slopes of the hallowed hill Corton, and 2) one of the last Burgundy appellations where we can find anything like a good value from a leading producer without leaving the Côte d’Or. Though the area makes mostly Pinot Noir, Faiveley’s east-facing vineyards grows this delicate Chardonnay with hidden depths – imagine a toasted flower sandwich on the nose, with good medium body and a nutty, racy finish. A lovely, smile-forward Burgundy with a price just north of many generic “Bourgogne” bottlings. If you love it, tell no one – I like Ladoix at the price it is. Not submitted for reviews. 2 6-packs available, $62.98 +tax

Walter Hansel “Cuvée Alyce” 2013, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California. The top cull of all the Hansel vineyards, winemaker Steve Hansel named this Chard after his mom Alyce, which has great narrative follow through because it smells like Mother’s Day: Crème Brulee, flowers and peaches with fresh toasted brioche and lots of hugs. Rich, velvet delivery with a soft but firm landing; this is oaked, buttery Chard done right, with full malolactic and 40% new French barrels. A class act, and much more delicious than many “acid-is-the-best-no-I’m-not-crying” Chard snobs (like me, sometimes) want to admit. 94 points Vinous, 2 cases available, $85.48 +tax

El Enemigo 2016, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina. The name of this buzzy collab between Adrianna Catena and long-time Catena winemaker Alejandro Vigil does not, as I assumed, mean “The Frenemy” in Spanish. So very exciting to watch Mendoza drift naturally from “Cali but cheaper” towards its own stylistic realm, and this flaming comet of unstable energy is at the vanguard of that migration. Forgoing lees stirring in favour of the “flor” method used in Vin Jaune and Fino Sherry (although this wine is nothing like those), the spent yeast cells rise to the top of the barrel and form a somewhat-permeable barrier between the wine and oxygen. Acting more like a Jura Chard with nuts and spices surrounding the golden pie-crust body, which itself surrounds a mischievous tartaric streak, El Enemigo pulls off the trick of being both enormous and lit up like a neon sign. Honeyed salinity on the nose, outstanding, sick value, bathe in this. 98 points James Suckling, 94 points Robert Parker, 3 cases available, $50.98 +tax

Until next time, Happy Drinking!