Friday, October 28, 2011

Discover the Wines of Chile was a Great Success

Our meeting last month was a great success. Kevin Ecock presented a power pointed presentation of the Wine Valleys of Chile and then guided us through the following ten incredible wines. Yes, TEN and the entry was only a fiver!

This was a sponsored event by Wines of Chile and the Association of Wine Educators of which Kevin is a keen member.

The wines were sponsored by local wine merchants and a number of national wine distributors. Each of these is acknowledged alongside their wines below.

The theme for the evening had been designed to show off the diversity, complexity, technical mastery and regionality of the Chilean wine trade. All of this was shown with regards to the differences each of the major wine producing valleys can display in a bottle of wine! Sounds complicated. It wasn't. It was fascinating.

Wine 1
Aconcagua Costa
Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Cassidy Wines
This was probabaly the best wine to begin a tasting like this with. It is exceptional. Herbal and lime driven this is cool climate Sauvignon Blanc at it's best. Vina Errazuriz Chief Wine maker Santiago Francisco used this wine to show cool climate wine making in Chile in his Specialties range last year here in Ireland. The Aconcagua Costa is only 12km from the very cool Pacific Ocean.

Wine 2
Vina Casa Silva Reserve Viognier 2010
Febvre & Co 
For wine lovers of rich and generous Viognier. Really super ripe wine making allows the grape to express itself in a lovely, full and show-off sort of a way. It would not be possible to develop the nuances this grape shows here unless the Cochagua Valley was used with pin point precision.

Wine 3
De Martino Legado Reserva Chardonnay 2009
Febvre & Co
De Martino prides iself on being 100% organic and to only grow grapes in areas that are best suited to them ie they are terroir driven. Limari shows expertly here with its northern latitude and quick sweep to the ocean from the mountains. This does Chardonnay proud.

Wine 4:
Carmen Reserva Pinot Noir 2009
Edward Dillon and Co
Fickle grapes need the attention of great winemakers. Chile is beginning to find its feet with Pinot Noir in terms of finding cool growing sites and the attention of experts such as Carmen's Sebastian Labbe. This is great intro to what's happening with Chilean Pinot Noir but I have no doubt that in a short while we will look back on this as merely the beginning of something great.

Wine 5
Valle Central
Karu Merlot 2010
O'Briens Wines
It's easy to see why this is so popular with O'Brien's customers. It's juicy, full and tremendous value at €7.49. It's a fine example of how the Central Valley in Chile can be used well. Let's face we all want value but we also want quality. Chile can provide both.

Wine 6
Carmen Reserva Merlot 2009
Edward Dillon and Co.
I purposefully put this after the less expensive Karu Merlot. If you're asked to pay more for a wine (€12.99 in this case) it seems reasonable that you get an added dimension in the bottle. Chile prides itself on having multiple price points. Indeed it is now attempting to associate price points, style and places of origin into hierarchies that the consumer will recognise. Everyone at this tasting appreciated the careful use Carmen has made of Colchagua's sub appellations in bringing freshness and subtlety to the table. Couple this with some oak ageing and it all made sense! 

Wine 7
Vina Maipo Reserva Syrah 2009
Dunnes Stores 
This went down well. No-one could quite believe that Dunne's regularly sell this for only €8.99. Vina Maipo specialise in Syrah and when this passion is combined with Rapel valley nuances the result is consistent. Lots of true varietal character with nothing forced.

Wine 8
Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2007
Clearly a Carmenere was needed. What a great wine Pehuen is! It has a great depth of red colour and rich very dark slightly spiced dark fruits on the nose and then surprises by a smooth palate. Apalta is warm with long growing season and great night v daytime temperatures. All suited to Carmenere! 

Wine 9
Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Gleeson Gilbeys
Super counter point to the Carmenere. Not many wine clubs get to see Santa Rita quality side by side like this. Very impressive. Served slightly the wrong way around but the point was well made. Maipo and its satellite the Apalta has genuine variety exploited really well by Santa Rita's talented team of wine makers.

Wine 10
Vina Chocalan Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2008
O'Brien's Wines
What a wine to finish off with. This is big in every sense and really should be coming from the Maipo. It's also a lot of fruit and a lot of wine making packed into one bottle. Comes across as relatively young still. Good value at the €20.00 O'Brien's sell it for.

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