The 2010 Bodega Elena de Mendoza Chardonnay is one of E & J Gallo’s Argentinean wine labels (Alamos is the other), it should sell for under $10, I found it for $6.97. The grapes are sourced from vineyards in the Mendoza Region which accounts for 2/3’s of Argentina’s wines. The vineyards in Mendoza have some unique factors, very much in their favor, when it comes to growing grapes. The vineyards are planted at a high enough altitude, they are located in the foothills of the Andes, that pests and diseases that plague other countries vineyards are not a major problem here. The vines have prolonged and intense exposure to the sun and the climate is very stable, they don’t have much variation from vintage to vintage. The typical Argentinean winery either didn’t exist 15 years ago or if they had been in business before that, completely updated their winery and upgraded their vineyards within the last 15 years. So, the average winery is a state of the art facility, with vineyards that are just now coming into their prime. The Bodega Elena Chardonnay has an alcohol content of 13.7%.
The color is extra virgin olive oil yellow. The nose is subdued, showing hints of melon, sugary pear, pineapple, lemon and apple, with a slight touch of butter. This is a Chardonnay with a substantial mouthfeel and very bright flavors. It starts with canned pineapple in light syrup, papaya, melon and lime. Tart juicy apple cider dominates the mid palate along with a refreshing slap from the acidity. There is enough acidity to allow this Chardonnay to be a versatile food wine, but it is balanced and does not get in the way of being an enjoyable sipper. The finish is full and long.
The 2010 Bodega Elena de Mendoza Chardonnay is a very, very solid under ten buck Chardonnay. It has flavor, it has structure, it has length and it has balance, which is all the things a good Chardonnay is supposed to have. The Bodega Elena Chardonnay is a textbook example of what an everyday Chardonnay should be.