2019 El Enemigo Syrah/Viognier, Mendoza, Argentina (Alcohol 13.5%, Residual Sugar 3 g/l) LCBO Vintages $28.95 (750ml bottle)
Over the years, I’ve certainly not been shy about my passion for many of the often quirky wines of El Enemigo; there’s something about their winemaking style that I feel an almost irresistible affinity for. While I’ve always enjoyed their take on the classic Syrah/Viognier Northern Rhône blend, with this 2019 vintage, they appear to have outdone themselves.
It’s a wine that I feel has a wide appeal and is not just for a cantankerous old wine scribe (with a cynical veteran’s palate) like myself; when I served it to a dear old friend I hadn’t seen in about 14 years, they were completely enamoured by the wine’s utterly enchanting bouquet and seductive mouthfeel. A new convert to El Enemigo!
Those used to entry-level Argentinian wines at bargain basement prices may balk at the $28.95 price tag, but I have to say that I feel this wine is worth every penny, as it’s an absolute delight in so many ways.
Aromatically, there’s a gorgeous swathe of blueberries, boysenberries, plums, and blackberries, but all of this black/blue fruit core is wrapped up in a simply irresistible floral perfume that’s definitely hanging around the highly sought-after violet/lilac sector of that olfactory wheel, something I happen to be particularly partial to. This florality has been present in previous vintages, but it really comes to the fore here, and then some. There are also enticing wisps of musky truffles and crispy coppa bacon.
Historically, the co-ferment of Syrah/Viognier has been used for colour fixing, additional aromatics, and texture, and with this wine, all three of these have been achieved with considerable aplomb. The wine pours a very appealing, bright, intense purple. The aforementioned bouquet is undeniably entrancing, and the plate is silky smooth, with ultra-fine velvet-like tannins coupled with extremely pleasant rasping acidity. 18 months in used oak foudres appear to have assisted in instilling a welcome approachability, but this wine has legs for days. I can only see this improving over the next decade and beyond, and that is quite a feat for a sub-$30 wine.
Absolutely killer juice, that’s for sure. Highly recommended.
(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)