On the Road with the Grape Guy04 Feb 2022
- Category: On the Road with the Grape Guy
(November 2021) … Chile has 18 distinct wine regions, extending 1400 km from north to south and are influenced by both the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean – below are the names of those valleys and what they are known for:
Copiapo Valley… The northernmost valley.
Huasco Valley… A new frontier for Chilean wine, on the border of the Atacama Desert and divided into two regions: Huasco Costa (20km from the Pacific Ocean) – Huasco Alto (in the region of Alto del Carmen).
Elqui Valley… Set at the southern edge of the Atacama Desert, one of Chile’s northernmost wine-producing regions.
Limari & Choapa Valleys… rich archeological heritage shows they prized both valleys for their agricultural significance since pre-Hispanic times.
Aconcagua Valley… Presents a range of ideal conditions for vine growing.
Casablanca Valley… Chile’s premier cool-climate wine region known for the gentle Pacific breezes, early morning fog, and old, granitic clay soils that create a rich tapestry of terroirs.
San Antonio Valley… Has three primary sectors: Leyda, Lo Abarca, and Rosario – newer areas are constantly emerging.
Maipo Valley… Best known winemaking region; built its reputation for excellent red wines in the mid-19th century.
Cachapoal Valley… Northern half of the large Rapel Velley; red varieties make up approximately 80% of the region’s total production.
Colchague Valley… Has evolved in the past fifteen years from a quiet stretch of farmland into one of the country’s largest and most active wine-producing regions.
Curico Valley… Vineyards date back to the 19th century; continues to be one of Chile’s most venerated, diverse, and largest wine-producing areas.
Maule Valley… Unlike many other Chilean growing regions, the Maule Valley does not have maritime influences.
Itata Valley… Chile’s oldest viticultural region has produced wine for over 450 years.
Bio Bio & Malleco Valleys… Chilean southernmost wine regions.
Cautin Valley… There are two subregions within Cautin Valley: Perquenco and Galvarino.
Osborno Valley… Only recently that Osorno has become a wine region; first planted in 2000 as experimentation. Four pioneering projects in the valley started by planting Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Over 120 wines were on display for tasting in a sit down and be-served format… I did my best to taste through all the wines and below are the top wines from my tasting:
Arboleda 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
Subtle red full of dark fruit and spice with notes of mocha and cassis. (*** ½)
Arboleda 2017 Brisa
A fierce blend of 40% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre and 10% Malbec that carries a nice peppery note to the finish with a good spice component that compliments the pepper with plenty of dark fruit hanging out in the background. Oak is there, but it does not overpower. Can be cellared for 5+ years. (****)
Aresti 2020 Trisquel Series Vichuquen Costa (Chardonnay)
Nice butteriness, with a good proportion of apple, pear and nectarine - really very pleasant with a creamy mid-palate and long finish. (****)
Cono Sur Winery 2019 20 Barrels Pinot Noir
Pretty and delicate Pinot with strawberry and blackberry notes, very fruit forward with a little barrel note backing. (****)
Cono Sur Winery NV Sparkling Rose (Pinot Noir)
So light in colour it’s barely noticeable as a rosé, but it’s also light and flavourful, with lovely acidity - has more citrus appeal than anything else. A slight departure from the usual, but still great value and a delight to drink. (****)
Vina Casas del Bosque 2021 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
Nice intensity of fruit that sits on the tropical side, but also with a nice grassy-citrus core - quite pleasant. (*** ½+)
Vina Casas del Bosque 2021 La Cantera (Sauvignon Blanc)
Very grassy on the nose, the palate delivers white peach and more grass, it’s interesting, but that grass has a way of getting in the way. (*** ½)
Vina Casas del Bosque 2021 Rose (Pinot Noir)
Delicate raspberry and cherry with some notes of citrus and floral. (*** ½)
Vina Casas del Bosque 2019 Gran Reserva Pinot Noir
Floral kicks things off with some cherry and strawberry notes - simple but satisfying. (*** ½)
Vina Casas del Bosque 2019 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Fun chocolate entry with a nice dark fruit core: black cherry, cassis, and blackberry … there’s just so much yum here and the tannins, while present, are assertive but manage not to get in the way. (****+)
Vina Chocalan 2019 Origen Syrah Gran Reserva
Some earthy character touched smoky notes, but it’s the good dark berry fruit at its core that makes this wine interesting: black raspberry and black cherry with a hint of mocha. (*** ½+)
Vina Errazuriz 2019 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon
Soft and lush, with lots of dark fruit at its core, namely black cherry, blackberry and spice. (*** ½+)
Vina Errazuriz 2018 Aconcagua Syrah
This is a delightful ride for the palate with its raspberry and spice plus the mocha that seems to be the very core of this wine, plus there’s an addition of white pepper for added charm. (*** ½+)
Vina Errazuriz 2017 Villa Don Maximiano
This Villa is a blend of 28% Syrah / 25% Cabernet Sauvignon / 20% Malbec / 17% Cabernet Franc and 10% Mourvedre - it’s in more of a drinkable / drink-now style ‘Don’ (especially when compared with Maximiano senior) with its light red fruits a la raspberry, red currants and smoke. (*** ½+)
Espiritu de Chile 2020 Intrepido Reserva (Cabernet Sauvignon)
A nice version of Cabernet with a slight menthol note wrapped around mocha/coffee bean and smoked pepper - playful and fun to drink. (*** ½+)
Espiritu de Chile 2019 Explorador (Cabernet Sauvignon)
This version of the Espiritu Cabernets drops the menthol and shows a lot of dark fruit at its core, It also shows some age. It’s smooth and lush in the mouth with good acidity; this is a drink now Cab (within 2-3 years). (*** ½+)
Garces Silva Family Vineyards 2020 Amayna Sauvignon Blanc
Plenty of tropical fruit with some citrus to back it up - lush mouthfeel, but still shows good acidity. (*** ½+)
Garces Silva Family Vineyards 2019 Boya Pinot Noir
Offering good Pinot Noir character, with some slightly earthy notes, but ultimately the fruit is really what is front-and-center with strawberry, cranberry, red currants and good acidity. (*** ½+)
Garces Silva Family Vineyards 2019 Catalino (Pais)
Soft and supple with a real fruit forward nature – I’d call this Chile’s version of Gamay? (*** ½)
Miguel Torres Chile 2021 Las Mulas Chardonnay
Nice acidity that comes across with green apple and citrus notes. (*** ½+)
Miguel Torres Chile 2017 La Causa Pais
Another Pais that’s very pretty and fruit forward: cherry, raspberry and more. Chillable and easy drinking; uncomplicated and tasty. I’m digging on these wines for their simplicity. (*** ½)
Miguel Torres Chile 2021 Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon
Heavy on the dark fruit plus mint/menthol, herbal, cloves, and blackberry - quite juicy on the palate. For a value-priced Cabernet, this one delivers what you’re looking for. (****)
Miguel Torres Chile 2019 Andica Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich and tasty with its coffee, blackberry, cassis and smoke. (*** ½+)
Montes Wines 2020 Reserva (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Mocha, blackberry, black cherry - simple and sippable. (*** ½)
Montes Wines 2019 Alpha (Chardonnay)
A Chardonnay that’s lush across the palate with notes of peach and apple - the highlight is that creamy core. (*** ½)
Montes Wines 2019 Alpha (Cabernet Sauvignon)
A real beauty with its mint and smoke on the nose; on the palate there’s a real depth with lots of lush dark fruit, this one hits all the right notes: black cherry, blackberry, vanilla and smoke - I reiterate, it’s a beauty. (****+)
Montes Wines 2018 Purple Angel
This is the way good Carmenere should be made, with great herbal notes and a fruit core: mocha, blueberry and blackberry take center stage. (****)
Vina Perez Cruz 2019 Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon
This Cab uses a small percentage (6%) of Petit Verdot in the mix: minty-mocha and blackberry fruit. There’s also a real richness on the finish where some cassis joins the fray. (*** ½+)
Vina Perez Cruz 2018 Chaski Petit Verdot
Lovely gentle spice and raspberry note with mocha and some cassis and blueberry - delicate spiciness just adds that little extra touch here. (****+)
Vina Perez Cruz 2020 Grenache
This one is raspberries galore on the nose and on the palate. Then you might notice the floral and red cherry, if you decide to dive a little deeper. (*** ½+)
Vina Perez Cruz 2020 Cot (Malbec) Limited Edition
Big hit of blue fruit on the nose along with notes of black cherry and floral - there’s a nice freshness on the palate and a touch of plum and black cherry. Rich and fruit driven. (***)
Vina Santa Carolina 2018 Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon
Lots of dark fruit: cassis, blackberry, black cherry, subtle notes of pepper and spice - good acidity, easy drinking and pleasant. (*** ½+)
Vina Santa Carolina 2020 Reserva Merlot
Very juicy, like Merlot can certainly be, plus chocolate, subtle notes of mint, a rich mouthfeel and plenty of black fruits: cassis and blackberry are standouts. (*** ½)
Vina Santa Rita 2020 Floresta Limari Chardonnay
Vines for this wine were planted in 1997 and it is said to be “one of the great sites for Chardonnay”: good acidity with crunchy white fruits - on the palate it has a lovely texture and nice weight. (*** ½+)
Vina Santa Rita 2020 Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Nice dark fruit: black cherry, blackberry and vanilla - simple but tasty. (*** ½)
Vina Santa Rita 2020 Secret Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Grassy and tropical with good acidity on the finish. (*** ½)
Vina Santa Rita 2020 Secret Reserve Pinot Noir
The middle seems to be normal, but the finish makes this Pinot a little funky and a little different: smoked-cranberry, strawberry and mocha(?) - but it works. (*** ½)
Vina Santa Rita 2018 Triple C
A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Carmenere with a pleasant note of mocha and black fruit. (*** ½)
Siegel Family Wines 2021 Gran Reserva Viognier
A fun little version of Viognier that’s creamy and tropical-fruited with nice acid backbone. (*** ½+)
Siegel Family Wines 2019 1234 Blend
Name is fun, and might refer to the four grapes that go into this wine: Syrah (50%) / Carmenere (30% / Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (10%) - blackberry and mocha join blueberry, black cherry and smoke - there’s a slight earthy character that comes through on the finish, but it’s that smokiness that finally wins out. (*** ½+)
Siegel Family Wines 2018 Unique Selection
A year older and a little different in its makeup (45% Cabernet Sauvignon / 35% Carmenere and 20% Syrah) - but it comes across similar to the wine above with a little more tannin on the finish. (*** ½+)
Siegel Family Wines 2018 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Nice minty-black fruit combination with a little smoke and burnt coffee bean on the finish. (*** ½)
Vina Vik 2018 Milla Cala
A five grape blend: the big Bordeaux three plus Carmenere and Syrah - shows a light touch with blackberry and blueberry meeting red currants and plum. (*** ½+)
Vina Vik 2020 Vik A (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Silky, smooth and elegant with a real light touch of red berry fruit and coffee – it has a nice acid punch on the finish that carries this wine and keeps it from being heavy. (****)
Vina Vik 2019 La Piu Belle
A pretty bottle encases this wine. It has a smoky nature with a little more umph than the other 2 - spice and acid fight it out on the finish while mocha, blackberry, pepper and spice take up residence on the mid-palate. (****+)
Vina San Pedro 2019 Tayu Pinot Noir
A very earthy, smoky version of Pinot Noir this time out, not as delicate as last year’s version… takes a little time to open and finally, when the fruit emerges, it becomes a little darker in nature. (*** ½)