Okay, let's get serious for a second, there were some really good wines being poured, and I took this opportunity to taste the wines not in Vintages or on the General List - I figured I could taste those any day. No, tonight I was going for those limited edition, pay-50%-down-tonight-get-'em-in-six-months wines; basically, the ones I may never get to try again, unless I'm invited back next year.
The room was broken down into half Chile (on the left) and Argentina (on the right) - with a divider down the middle called "Wine Discoveries" - here you could learn about certain regions, different grape types, or non-traditional grape varieties (like Torrentes, big there but not here) - I was sad to see no Bonarda station, which is due for its day in the sun - great value wines that have tons of fruit ... oh well maybe next year.
Chile ... (Top Chilean Wines)
Cono Sur keeps impressing and their 2009 Ocio Pinot Noir ($59.95) did just that. For a hot country Pinot this was amazingly interesting both nose and palate-wise: lovely raspberry note with plenty of spice ... what really stood out was the great spiced finish. (****+)
I have a bottle of the 2005 Clos Apalta (by Casa Lapostolle) somewhere in my cellar, I was advised not to even think about it till 2015, which means for now the Casa Lapostolle 2008 Clos Apalta ($114.95) will have to do: spice, chocolate, fig and big black fruit - smooth and delicious. (****)
The Rest of the Best from Chile ...
Concha Y Toro 2008 Terrunyo Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.95) - lovely mint and black cherry with a wood spice finish. (****)
Errazuriz 2008 Single Vineyard Syrah ($19.95) - incredibly smooth with its raspberry, cherry, blackberry and hint of spice. (****)
MontGras 2008 Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95) - big bouquet of fruit and spice waft up the nose while leaving the same on the palate especially those cinnamon and blackberry bits. (****)
Argentina ... (Top Argentine Wines)
Then there`s the Bodega Colome (who?) with their 2007 Estate Reserve Malbec ($84.95), this puppy had chocolate mocha from beginning to end ... I have a sweet tooth so that kinda flavour and smell really appeals to me, but it had more than just that to appeal to other tastes too. (**** 1/2)
Now Kaiken, while not a household name, has been in the market for some time, their Malbec is a Vintages Essential for good reason ($14.95 and worth it). Their 2007 Mai ($89.95), also 100% Malbec, is a step way up, complexity up the ying-yang with minty notes, a mix of red and black fruit, vanilla, and chocolate ... the palate seems a little tight at the moment, you really have to work at getting the pepper, chocolate and black cherry - but it`s worth the effort - given time this one`ll come around nicely. (**** 1/2)
The Rest of the Best from Argentina ...
Graffigna 2008 Santiago ($34.95) - blends Malbec with Cabernet Sauvigon and Shiraz and delivers a flair of flavour on the tongue: raspberry steeped in cassis with vanilla extract. (****)
Catena Zapata 2008 Alta Chardonnay ($39.95) - known more for Malbecs and Cabs this winery delivered the goods with this powerful yet elegant Chardonnay: fruit, butter, vanilla cream - smooth and delicious (****)
Discoveries from Both Sides of the Andes ...
Zuccardi brought a 2004 Q Malbec (Argentina) from his personal cellar, just to prove Malbec can age well ... this was woody with black currant notes and a spiced wood finish ... no marks given but for academic purposes this was a very educational and interesting wine to taste.
Gewurztraminer fans should check out the Tilia Torrentes ($12.95 - Argentina) found on the General List; it`s floral dominant and good value.
Concha Y Toro 2008 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - Chile) is worth picking up for its delicious mint, blackberry and black cherry on both nose and palate. Stock up for summer as it`s 2 bucks off ($17.95) till the end of the month (March)
And finally, the just released Vina Leyda 2009 Las Brisa Vineyard Pinot Noir ($16.95 - Chile) is a forgotten gem from the March 5 release - high toned fruit with wonderful raspberry notes, smells just scream out of the glass and continue onto the palate ... worth discovering at that price.