Exciting things are astir in South America. While for a long time, Argentina and Chile were mostly known for large-scale production of fairly standard New World reds, people are starting to realize both countries have the terroir and climate to produce profound wines. Even Burgundians have started to take note. Some of the biggest names in Burgundy, indeed in the whole world of wine, are turning their eyes to the country as a new place to flex their muscles and make true terroir-driven wines.
Today, we're pleased to offer Jean-Marc Roulot's "Mainque" Chardonnay and Jean-Michel Liger-Belair's Aristos wines.
For any lover of Burgundy, Jean-Marc Roulot needs no introduction. Along with Dominique Lafon, he's widely recognized as one of the greatest white wine producers ever to work in Burgundy. His Meursault Chardonnays defy description and garner extravagant prices. In 2017, he started teaming up with Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, himself a member of the family responsible for Tuscany's legendary Sassicaia, to produce an Argentinian Chardonnay. Jean-Marc makes the wine, called "Mainque," at Rochetta's Bodega Chacra winery, located at extraordinarily high elevations in northern Patatgonia. It exists outside of traditional New vs Old World divisions: the body and texture of New World Chardonnay, combined with aromatics and a deep vein of minerality more akin to great white Burgundy. This is hands down one of the best Chardonnays being produced in the New World right now.
Aristos, on the other hand, has a different focus, but no less of a pedigree. It's the brainchild of Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, owner and winemaker of one of Burgundy's most famous estates, the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair; Pedro Parra, the terroir evangelist who consults on or is involved with what seems like every exciting Chilean winery; and Francois Massoc, Chile's most lauded young winemaker. The project began in 2012 with the goal of finding Burgundian sites – namely limestone soil and cool microclimates – in Chile's Cachapoal Valley. They focus on both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is true "grand vins," full-bodied but fresh, mineral-soaked, and built for very long aging. The Chardonnay is drinking absolutely beautifully right now, and still has years to go, while the Cabernet is just beginning to enter its drinking window. No lover of Burgundy, Bordeaux, or even old-school Napa Cabernet should pass these up.