We first tasted Luca’s world-class G Lot Chardonnay in the 2013 vintage and were blown away. We are equally impressed by this month’s feature, the 2016 Luca G Lot Tupungato Chardonnay. The 2016 G Lot Chardonnay is a delicious barrel-fermented Burgundian-style Chardonnay that could easily be mistaken for a top-notch Premier Cru white Burgundy from Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet. Grown in well-drained limestone-rich soil at 4,900 feet in the isolated Gualtallary (hence the name G Lot) district of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, Luca’s G Lot Chardonnay possesses the purity, panache and precision one craves in great Chardonnay. The bright straw-colored 2016 Luca G Lot Chardonnay offers an entrancing bouquet. Lemon cream, tropical fruits, spiced pear and a racy minerality tantalize the nose. In the mouth, white peach, pear, baking spices and deft hints of hazelnut emerge to delight the palate. The elegant, medium-bodied 2016 G Lot fills the mouth and enlivens the senses with a delightful mélange of succulent Chardonnay fruit and an intriguing cornucopia of mineral and spice flavors. Elegant, flavorful and endowed with impeccable balance, G Lot’s bright acidity and understated oak tones frame the wine but never dominate. Luca’s G Lot Chardonnay truly underscores Laura Catena’s commitment to quality and Argentina’s ability to fashion world-class white wine as well as red. For optimal drinking pleasure we suggest only moderate chilling (40° F) of the 2016 G Lot before serving. Like all great white Burgundies and the finest New World Chardonnays, Luca’s G Lot Chardonnay will benefit from a bit of aeration. Allowing the wine a few minutes in the glass to “bloom” will more than repay the wait. Enjoy!
The world-class 2016 Luca G Lot Chardonnay is equally satisfying to sip and savor on its own as it is welcome at table in the presence of the finest cuisine. With Luca G Lot’s entrancing bouquet and wealth of integrated flavors, it makes an ideal dinner party companion. Sea Bass prepared with a red pepper beurre blanc served over creamy tarragon infused polenta provides a delicious seafood pairing with this exceptional Chardonnay. Grilled Shrimp, served in a roasted red pepper and thyme sauce over Asparagus Risotto, makes another fine accompaniment. In light of Luca’s Burgundian style and supreme balance, French classics such as Suprême de Volaille aux Champignons (Breast of Chicken with Mushrooms in Cream) and Sautéed Veal Medallions with mushrooms and cream offer superb companions to the 2016 Luca G Lot Chardonnay. It also pairs beautifully with lobster and poached salmon. For those who don’t want to fuss, perfectly aged cheeses accompanied by sliced Bosc or Bartlett pears make easy to prepare, yet satisfying accompaniments to Luca’s exquisite Chardonnay.
Laura Catena grew up in the most renowned wine-making family of Mendoza, Argentina. Laura’s father Dr. Nicolás Catena was one of the first winery owners in Mendoza to realize Argentina’s enormous viticultural potential and to concentrate on producing quality rather than quantity in the vineyard and wine cellar. Many called him “loco,” yet four decades later the wine drinking world reveres Dr. Catena and applauds his enormous research and painstaking efforts to bring quality Argentine wines to the world market. There would be little clamor today for fine Malbec without Dr. Catena’s work. Fortunately, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Laura Catena has begun her own wine venture, Luca, and taken Argentine wine to an even higher level.
Although Laura now splits her time between Mendoza and San Francisco (where she practices medicine, serves as a university professor, and raises three children) her heart still rests in Argentina and winemaking of the highest quality. In Luca, named for Laura’s first-born son, Laura has realized her dream of creating small quantities of impeccably made Argentine wines from individual vineyards and terroirs. Made in true artisan fashion, each limited production of Luca wine hails from extraordinary fruit from very low-yield, high elevation, family-owned vineyards. Together with Luca’s celebrated winemaker, Estela Perinetti, Laura creates world class Chardonnay (G Lot) that rivals the finest Meursault from Burgundy as well as exceptional varietal offerings of Pinot Noir, Malbec and Syrah. Two other very special offerings, Beso de Dante, an exquisite blend of Malbec and Cabernet, and Nico, a tiny production of Malbec from very old vines, also emanate from Luca.
Luca wines set themselves above their rivals by offering power, complexity and finesse all in one package. By the Catena family’s own admission “Laura is continually inspired by the synthesis of cultures in her own family, and this international inspiration infuses the style and quality of her wines.” Moreover, each Luca wine is the ultimate expression of its terroir and reflects the importance of expert vineyard management, skilled winemaking, and the quest for quality at any cost.
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