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Bodega Aleanna
Winemakers it seems, are a competitive bunch. Not content to let Bordeaux and Burgundy run the show any longer, the early part of the 21st century has seen many new world wine regions elevate their products in order to be on the podium. While many regions may have the potential to rival France for fine wine, age (both of vine and ability to) is still a stumbling block. However, some regions seem to be a little more advanced than others; and Argentina is one of them.
What’s in a name?
Casa Vigil to some, Casa El Enemigo to others, or even El Enemigo winery to a handful of other, is one winery that has harnessed the old world power of new world wine. Home to winemaker Alejandro Vigil, Alejandro has teamed up with Adrianna Catena (of Catena Zapata, where Vigil is also chief winemaker) to give South America a little taste of European history. Born in 2009 from a shared love of poetry, romance and yes, good food and great wine (and a midnight walk along the River Thames), they established El Enemigo, a winery, eatery, wine bar, concert venue and all-round creative hub that allows Alejandro to push his viticultural creativity to its limits. That is not to say that he is any kind of oenological anarchist, his background as a soil scientist has given him a solid foundation in what he does, so he knows exactly what to plant, where to plant it and when to harvest. The added touch of je ne sais quoi that his wines are famous for, however, is pure Alejandro, and his whole-bunch fermented and old-vine, single-terroir reds wines are all the better for it.
Wild at heart
El Enemigo wines focus mostly on Bonarda, Cabernet Franc and Malbec (especially blends of the latter two). Despite gaining the highest ever score for a pure Cabernet Franc wine (El Gran Enemigo) on Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate website and a whopping 95 points from Tim Akin for his 2013 Malbec and winning awards the world over, both Alejandro and Adrianna believe that wine is meant for drinking “the way you listen to Mozart or read Cronopios”. This may lead some to believe that El Enemigo wines have no ageing potential, but au contraire, the delicate blending and superlative cellaring of all the wines (but notably the Cabernet Franc), means that El Enemigo is a contender for that fabled, French-dominated, podium.