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Chardonnay, 2020. Fuego Austral

Chardonnay, 2020. Fuego Austral

Item #: C0421W2IC
Vintage: 2020
Varietal: Chardonnay
Vineyard/Appellation: Central Valley, Chile
Color: Very Pale
Nose: Apple, Pear
Palate: Tropical
Finish: Gripping
Rating: 96
Cellaring/Serving Suggestions: Now thru 2023/Shellfish, Seafood/13% Alcohol by Volume

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  • Description
  • Reviews

As Chilean wineries go, Fuego Austral is a relative new comer. It was founded by the Ventisquero family in 1998 with a mission to show that Chile wasn't just about Malbec. They wanted to show the diversity of its vineyards and its people.

The name means "southern fire" and refers to an annual celebration of self-sufficiency and civic response. The winery emphasizes sustainable agriculture and the protection of its natural habitat.

Our selection is one of the best examples we've tasted of Fuego's mission to show off their vineyards' diversity. In this case it is a mouth-gripping elixir featuring lower alcohols and pinpoint flavors. This is accomplished by leaving the wine to rest on its "lees" for several months after fermentation and stirring it frequently. A sort of magical transformation takes place that cannot be fully explained, but the results are gratifying.

The "lees" are the tiny bits of pulverized seeds and stems left after the wine is fermented. After they have been filtered out, they leave a textural impact on the wine that grips the palate and allows the flavors to linger. Careful monitoring of the wine during this process is essential to guarantee success.

All that effort obviously pays off here. The freshness is staggering, especially when combined with the strong presence and grip in the mouth, showing green apple and touches of mango to fend off an oyster stew or grilled Branzino with tomato concasse and onion relish.