Casarena Estate Chardonnay 2011
Casarena is forging a different path from the other wineries in Mendoza. Instead of searching for undiscovered terroirs in new places like the Uco Valley, it is discovering the hidden gems in its home region of Lujan de Cuyo—a place full of rich tradition, potential, and unique micro-terroirs. Casarena has purchased as well as planted vineyards in several distinctive sites, and they control all aspects of winegrowing and winemaking in order to maximize the flavor expression of these terroirs.
The name “Casarena” is a creative merging of the Spanish words “casa” (house) and “arena” (sand), and is a tribute to their restored 1930s winery made of sand-colored stone and the sandy soil that their estate is built on. All theses features gather together unbeatable height, climate and soil conditions to cultivate premium vineyards. The Wine Making team is headed by Michel Rolland.
By far the largest and best-known winemaking province in Argentina, Mendoza is responsible for over 70% of the country’s enological output. Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains, the climate is dry and continental, presenting relatively few challenges for viticulturists during the growing season. Mendoza, divided into several distinctive sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, is the source of some of the country’s finest wines.
For many wine lovers, Mendoza is practically synonymous with Malbec. Originally a Bordelaise variety brought to Argentina by the French in the mid-1800s, here it found success and renown that it never knew in its homeland where a finicky climate gives mixed results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir are all widely planted here as well (and sometimes even blended with each other or Malbec). Mendoza's main white varieties include Chardonnay, Torrontés, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.