Sunday, September 20, 2009

Report from ... Chilean Preview Tasting - September 9, 2009

On the day the Beatles invaded the rock world, once again (with the re-release of their catalogue and Rock Band video game), I found myself in the basement of Crush Wine Bar tasting 45 Chilean wines. Today it was all about wines that were available at the LCBO, soon to be available or wines on consignment (purchable through the agent) … basically these are all wines you can get in some form or another at some point in the province of Ontario. We tasted the wines blind (not knowing who’s we were tasting), though we were given hints as to the category. Here were my top picks by category:

Flight A – Sauvignon Blanc and various (6 wines poured)
Vina Anakena 2009 Single Vineyard Viognier ($14.95)
- peachy, melony nose follows into the mouth… very pinot gris like … easy sipping and thoroughly enjoyable. (****½)

Vina Montes 2008 Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 – Vintages #32060)
- lots of grapefruit and nice acidity. (****)

Flight B – Chardonnay or Chardonnay Blends (9 wines poured)
Vina Emiliana Organico 2007 Novas Winemaker’s Selection ($18.95 – Vintages March 2010)
- best wine of the day bar none. A blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Marsanne, this wine had the perfect balance of fruit to oak to acidity. Vanilla and butterscotch dominate the aromas on the nose which led to much the same on the palate with just enough fruit to bring it all home. Great yum-factor, and at 15% alcohol this is not a wine to be trifled with, but even with that much alcohol it is so well integrated you’ll never even notice it’s there. (*****)

Vina Sena 2008 Arboleda Chardonnay ($15.95 – Vintages)
- vanilla and almond nose leads to a palate that’s nutty with grapefruit rind tones, nice acid bite on the finish. (****)

Vina Cousino Macul 2008 Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay ($14.95 – Vintages February 2010)
- peach, apple and lime on the sniffer, good fruit on the palate with a lively peach finish. (****)

Flight C – Pinot Noir / Merlot / Syrah / Shiraz (6 wines poured)
Vina Errazuriz 2007 Max Reserva Shiraz ($17.95)
- pepper and spice lead the way here; bacony, smoked meat and juicy blackberries, nice fruit with hits of tannin and lovely fruit on the finish. (****)

Vina Veramonte 2008 Reserva Pinot Noir ($15.95 – Vintages September 12, 2009)
- nice cherry and raspberry nose, earthy-strawberry character in the mouth. (***½)

Flight D & E – Carmenere / Carmenere Blends (10 wines poured)
Vina Terra Andina 2007 Reserva Carmenere ($13.95 – Vintages)
- rich minty aromas with lovely red fruit, on the palate it’s juicy red fruit, mint and a nice smooth finish. (****½)

Vina Emiliana Organico 2007 Novas Limited Selection Carmenere / Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95 – Vintages March 2010)
- black fruit and cocoa aromas, follow on the palate with nice firm tannins; needs a couple of years to settle down into smoothness. (****)

Flight F & G – Cabernet Sauvignon (14 wines poured)
Vina Cousino Macul 2007 Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.45)
- first bottle was corked, but the subsequent bottle exploded with juicy red and black fruit flavours; ultimately sippable and lovely, as long as it’s a good bottle. (****½)

Vina Sena 2007 Arboleda Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.95 – Vintages)
- minty, brambly blackberry and cassis, juicy palate loaded with blackberries, chocolate and tannins. (****½)

Vina Errazuriz 2007 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.95)
- nice fruit, mainly red, with chocolate-mint notes and blackberry tang. (****)

Vina Santa Carolina 2006 Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 – Vintages)
- juicy red fruit, with a touch of cocoa on the finish. (***½)

Vina Concha Y Toro 2007 Winemaker’s Lot 115 Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.95 – Vintages)
- blackberry, toasted vanilla, cinnamon and herbs. (***)

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