Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Report from ... Vina Ventisquero wines - March 5, 2012

The second time in a week I'm at a tasting of a winery that is just going into it's second decade of production (see Hall from March 1).  Today we'll be tasting 10 wines (2 whites, 8 reds) from Vina Ventisquero, a winery that started production in 2001 and has grown to be one of the biggest exporters of Chilean wine.  Filipe Tosso, winemaker for Ventisquero since the beginning started things off with a brief history of the winery and make up of the winery:  owner started his business 55 years ago with a chicken farm, 16 years ago he started thinking of getting into the wine business.  Today they have 7 different vineyards spread out from the north to the south of Chile and 5 different lines: Queulat, Grey (single block), Vertice, Heru, Pangea.  It was also pointed out to us that Chile is the only phyloxera free country in the world - there are pockets in other countries that did not get hit by the louse but Chile is fully phyloxera free.

Vina Ventisquero is trying to break into the Canadian market, let's hope we see more of their wines.

Felipe Tosso explains the soils of their Chilean vineyards in the Apalta

Best White ...

Queulat 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca) - on lees for 3 months
Nose: tropical gooseberry and grapefruit cocktail
Taste: tropical and grapefruit cocktail flavours while acidity plays in the mouth
clean fresh and refreshing, nice lingering finish ... 3.5+

Best Reds ...
Queulat 2010 Pinot Noir (Casablanca) - 10% new, 100% French oak
Nose: raspberry, hint of spice
Taste: quite the raspberry palate, soft and supple, touch of spice, seemingly silky smooth, fruity with just the right amount of spice and wood to make it easy to drink ... 3.5+

Heru 2009 Pinot Noir (Casablanca) - fruit comes from 2 hectare block called "Block 34"
History: started to seperate the vineyard in 2006 (in secret) made 4 barrels just to show there was a difference in the terroir and kind of wine that can be made
Nose: raspberry, strawberry, lots of nice red fruit
Taste: earthy, smoky, raspberry-strawberry, and mineral note - more complex, added fruit richness, and an interesting minerally finish with good length length ... 4

Grey 2009 Merlot "Block 3" (Colchagua, Apalta Vineyard)-
History: these grapes were planted by mistake in stony soil, they were told it was Cabernet Sauvignon; because of the soil they get very small grapes but very intense flavours
Nose: blueberry, cherry, with a hint of milk chocolate
Taste:  black cherry, blueberry skin, vanilla, herbal, good tannins and acidity, juicy and soft ... 4+

Grey 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon "Block 38" (Maipo) - 6% Petit Verdot added
Nose: raspberry and sweet black pepper
Taste: raspberry, black pepper, chocolate, juicy, with hint of vanilla-smoke, and good tannins, sweet red fruit finish with just the right amount of spice to keep it interesting ... 4+ (favourite wine of the tasting)

Pangea 2007 Syrah (Apalta Vineyard) - 3 blocks in three kinds of soil
Nose: red licorice, hint of balsamic and chocolate, with some raspberry liqueur
Taste:  juicy red fruit and berries, good spicy-peppery character, chocolate, smooth and silky tannins; white pepper, cassis and blackberry on the finish with some creme de cacao ... 4+

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