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On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Love Wine Love Chile – November 2018

05 Dec 2018

Chilean Wine Fair, Toronto ... Chile continues to impress with their wines and their seeminglyever expanding breadth of country in which to grow grapes … Once Casablanca and Maipo were the only two Valleys to be recognized, but now there are 16-18 valleys spread out over three main regions (Andes, Costa and Entre Cordilleras) – look for these Valley names (listed below) on the bottles you buy, as I am sure they will begin to be more prevalent going forward.

The Valleys: Copiapo Valley, Huasco Valley, Elqui Valley, Limari & Choapa Valleys, Aconcagua Valley, Casablanca Valley, San Antonio Valley, Maipo Valley, Cachapoal Valley, Colchagua Valley, Curico Valley, Maule Valley, Itata Valley, Bio Bio & Malleco Valleys, Cautin Valley, Osorno Valley.

Here is a list of 38 wines that impressed me, during an afternoon filled with more than 130 wines; you will also see a full review of my top five wines ...

Three Plus Star wines … (3+ stars)Chilean Corks
Ventisquero 2017 Grey Single Block Pinot Noir – Leyda Valley

Three and a Half Star wines … (3 ½ stars)
Anakena 2016 Ona Andes Blend – Cachapoal Valley
Casa Silva 2017 Romano – Colchagua Valley
Casas del Bosque 2017 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Garces Silva 2018 Boya Rosé – Leyda Valley
Indomita 2017 Gran Reserva Carignan – Maule Valley
Miguel Torres 2017 Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon – Central Valley
Miguel Torres 2018 Las Mulas Chardonnay – Central Valley
Santa Alicia 2016 Anke – Maipo Valley
Santa Alicia 2016 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Sutil 2014 Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Veramonte 2015 Primus The Blend – Colchagua Valley

Chilean LogoThree and a Half Plus Star wines … (3 ½+ stars)
Carmen 2016 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Casa Silva 2011 MicroTerroir Carmenere – Colchagua Valley
Casas del Bosque 2017 Gran Reserva Pinot Noir – Casablanca Valley
Casas del Bosque 2017 Syrah Pequenas Producciones – Casablanca Valley
Emiliana 2016 Coyam – Colchagua Valley
Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay – Aconcagua Valley
Indomita 2017 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Luis Felipe Edward 2014 Single Vineyard Red Blend – Colchagua Valley
Luis Felipe Edward 2014 360 Series Carignan – Maule Valley
Perez Cruz 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition – Maipo Andes
Perez Cruz 2014 Chaski Petit Verdot – Maipo Andes
Tarapaca 2016 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Ventisquero 2016 Grey Single Block Carmenere – Maipo Valley
Veramonte 2015 Neyen – Apalta / Colchagua Valley

Four Star wines … (****)
Aresti 2014 Family Collection Assemblage – Curico Valley
Concha y Toro 2017 Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Cono Sur NV Sparkling Rosé – Bio Bio Valley
Cono Sur 2018 Bicicleta Viognier – Chile
Emiliana NV Sparkling Tradicional Method – Casablanca Valley
Errazuriz 2016 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Aconcagua Valley
Garces Silva 2015 Amayna Syrah – Leyda Valley
Indomita 2016 Zardoz Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Montes 2014 Alpha M – Colchagua Valley
San Pedro 2016 Sideral – Cachapoal Valley
Sutil 2014 Acrux – Colchagua Valley

Top 5 Wines … click on name of wine to see full review and “score”
Aresti 2012 Codigo de Familia 380 Assemblage – Curico Valley
Casa Silva 2016 S38 Cabernet Sauvignon – Colchagua Valley
Concha y Toro 2016 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley
Santa Alicia 2016 Millantu – Maipo Valley
Valdivieso 2013 Caballo Loco Grand Cru, Red Blend – Maipo Valley


Those Damn Chardonnays – i4C 2018

15 Nov 2018


(July 2018) ... I have spoken much on Podcasts, in Newsletters and anywhere else I write / talk or give opinion about my distaste for Chardonnay – but while not a fan there are still good to great Chardonnay that are able to turn my head and have me sitting on the fence … During the Flights of Chardonnay evening at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) I found these versions did just that – making the i4C a worthwhile event for someone who is an ABCer, like me, as well as someone who loves the stuff with hesitation … come one, come all there is a Chardonnay for everyone.

Arterra 2016 Chardonnay, Ontario
Mineral, green apple, white peach – very fruit forward with nice acidity on the finish … fresh and lively with fruit because of the minimal 20% oak.  (****) - $29.95

Blue Mountain 2009 Blanc de Blancs, British Columbia
6.5 years on lees has developed real biscuity notes along with apple and lemon zest … a real toasty number ready to drink for any occasion … 25% of Blue Mountain production is bubbles, so you know they have a vested interest in doing these wines well.  (****) - $69.95

Champagne Collet NV Blanc de Blancs, France
A three vintage blend (2009 / 2010 / 2011) which spends 5 years on lees – the brioche notes are a real winner with sweet biscuits, butter and a creamy mouthfeel.  (****+) - $84.95

Hahn Estate 2016 Chardonnay, California
15% new oak and aged 5 months in total – creamy and buttery with rich peach fruit and vanilla undertones.  (*** ½+) - $21.95

Marcel Cabelier 2014 Esprits de Chardonnay Cremant Jura, France
Great value in a 24 month on lees traditional method bubble from 100% Chardonnay; nice mousse, bracing acidity and a pure mineral finish … that such a gorgeous bubbly comes from Jura is the great shocker here.  (****+) - $23.95

Lightfoot & Wolfville 2012 Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature, Nova Scotia
A 5 year or less sparkler with no dosage … plenty of breadiness and mineral from start to finish.  (*** ½+) - $78.00

Paul Cluver 2016 Estate Chardonnay, South Africa
Nice creamy texture on the palate where you’ll also find gentle spice, peach, creamed apple and a minerality that carries this wine to the finish.  (****) - $27.95

Tantalus Vineyards 2017 Juveniles Chardonnay, British Columbia
Young vines Chardonnay (4-5 years) that sees older barrels (50%) and the other half in stainless steel – both versions rest on lees for 5 months … these may be young vines but there’s still mineral and flinty notes that come through along with plenty of single note apple fruit; when these vines get older they’ll make greater Chardonnay – for now it’s just plain good.  (*** ½+) - $31.95

Vidal 2017 Reserve Chardonnay, New Zealand
Big, creamy mouthfeel with mineral, hints of smoke, apple and pear fruit … but it’s that mineral note that’s making this wine off the chart good.  (*** ½+) - $24.95

Villa Maria 2016 Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay, New Zealand
A gentle, easy drinking version of Chardonnay that’s smooth and silky across the palate with spiced-peach and lime zest, but the acidity keeps it from being too creamy and from coming off uneventful.  (*** ½+) - $21.95

Echeverria 2012 Family Reserve Chardonnay, Chile
A fruit forward unoaked Chardonnay that has something extra to give it a yum factor: apple, gentle lime and lemon notes, mineral and a wonderful acidity to the finish – no way this is 6 years old … a double-take look at the label again, yes it is.  (*** ½+) - $24.95



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