Is is Chile, like 5 bean chili, or Chilaaay? Hmm. Pretty sure it's the latter, but most Americanos pronounce it like they are going to a cookoff. The Skinny Girl version of countries, Chile is a slender 3000 miles long, only 140 miles wide, and is one of the exciting regions for winemaking in the New World. Vineyards are in 14 main areas, and are at altitudes varying from 100 feet, to the highest at over 2600 feet. A runway model of winemaking.
Tasting with Master Sommeliers wines from a relatively unknown country (at least to most Americans), with such a focus on the various regions and the grape expression in relation to their proximity to the ocean, their altitude, and their varying soil content was nothing short of fascinating. If you haven't experienced Chilean wines yet, here is your condensed intro! So here we go! The wines:
Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc (2011), 13.5% ABV: From the Casablanca Valley, about 20 km from the ocean, a bright, vibrant wine with citrus, grass, & a definite note of jalapeño. If you like that in your wine (SoCal residents this is for you!), try this value at $14.
Ritual Sauvignon Blanc (2010), 13.5% ABV: I don't use the word supple to describe Sauvignon Blanc often, but in this case I will. 100% aged in old French oak for 5 months, this wine displays a lovely and elegant roundness, with the oak staving off the acidity. Pun intended. $24
Valdivieso Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (2010), 13.5% ABV: From the Leyda Valley, about 12 km from the ocean, this SB is 100% aged in French oak for 6 months. Slight funk in the finish from the wild fermentation. Oak hits in the mid-palate. Interesting. $20
Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir (2008), 15% ABV: From Casablanca Valley, this wine is aged 12 months in French oak, and displays roasted cherry and red plum, with alot of oak character, particularly on the finish. High octane Pinot. $32
Loma Larga Pinot Noir (2009), 14% ABV: Also from Casablanca Valley and aged 12 months in French oak, this Pinot has much brighter fruit on the nose, with notes of red currant and a cherry that vascillates between candied & syrup, along with a herbal quality. Always a high point-taker in the ratings. $29
Matetic EQ Pinot Noir (2008), 14.5% ABV: From the San Antonio Valley, about 6 km from the ocean. This biodynamic Pinot shouts one word. Concentrated. The cherry quality leans toward more of the syrup end, with chunkier, heavier red fruit, and a higher perception of alcohol.
Valdivieso Single Vineyard Syrah (2011), 14.5% ABV: A big, inky wine, with an intense purple color, sweet dark fruits of plum & blackberry, and violets. Mouthcoating and full-bodied. $20
Anakena Ona Syrah (2010), 14.1% ABV: Wowza. Super duper eucalyptus & menthol. Big dark fruits are present but secondary. Definitely more of a specific palate targeted here. Reminded me of the Cabernets of the Aussie renaissance a decade back. $18
Montes Alpha Syrah (2009), 14.8% ABV: 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Viognier. A fan on Montes for years, I was pleased to see their wine in the tasting! Chunky, big fruit wine with notes of herbs, flowers, and smoke. Definitely more tannin in this wine, along with the perception of higher alcohol. This one will a fantastic food wine. $24
Santa Carolina Reserve de Familia Carmenere (2009), 14.5% ABV: From 20 year old vines, this 100% Carmenere from Rapel Valley definitely displays its telltale herbal character. Scrub brush & rosemary mingle with floral & violet notes alongside big, mouth coating fruit, smoke, & tobacco on the finish. $23
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha (2009), 14.5% ABV: Also from 20 year old vines, but from the Cachapoal Valley, this wine displays big, black fruit, Asian & baking spices, perfume, & thyme. Bigger tannin and acidity. $24
Apaltagua Grial Carmenere (2008), 14% ABV: From 60 year old vines in the Colchagua Valley, this beautifully done Carmenere spends 12 months in French oak. Dustiness, along with scrub brush, black fruit, perfume, and graphite. The treat of the tasting, and displaying where Carmenere is going in the vineyards of Chile.
Education. Insight. Learning with wine is fun.