Everything from today's tasting came from the Chilean producer Viña Morandé. One of the winemakers was present to answer questions about the wines and the region. All of these wines are very reasonably priced and easily enjoyable with a wide range of foods. The Pionero wines are the entry level bottles, the Terrarum wines are the reserve offerings, and Vitisterra wines are grand reserve.
Wine 1: 2004 Morandé Pionero Sauvignon Blanc. Grapefruit aromas and flavors, no oak, and tending towards the sweet side. $8.
Wine 2: 2003 Morandé Terrarum Chardonnay. Buttery aroma on top, with touches of oak in the flavor. Crisp acids and a round flavor. $12.
Wine 3: 2001 Morandé Vitisterra Chardonnay. Fruit and floral aromas, a hint of vanilla with a slightly sweet and creamy flavor. Impressive. $17.
Wine 4: 2003 Morandé Pionero Pinot Noir. Yes, that's right, a Pinot Noir from Chile. I found this herbal and vegetal, with medium tannins. Overall unusual experience. $8.
Wine 5: 2002 Morandé Pionero Carmenère. Hints of black cherry, with an enticing fresh baked bread aroma. Inky black with a good round flavor. Good introduction to this grape if you're not familiar with it. $8.
Wine 6: 2002 Morandé Terrarum Carmenère. This has a hotter aroma than previous wine, but with soft tannins and beautiful construction. My favorite of the day, and I picked up a bottle for dinner (Italian-style pot roast). It's got green pepper/tomato leaf flavors, along with herbal complexity. Reminds me of something from Medoc, and along with the deep color, brings to mind Petite Verdot. $12.
Wine 7: 2002 Morandé Pionero Cabernet Sauvignon. A little black cherry aroma, but with strawberry flavors. A little thin for my tastes. $8.
Wine 8: 2002 Morandé Terrarum Cabernet Sauvignon. Similar to the above, but with more oak present and softer tannins. $12.
Wine 9: 2003 Morandé Vitisterra Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a little on the tart side, and the tannins were still a little hard. I think this might need another year in the bottle. $12.
Wine 10: 2003 Morandé Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (375mL). Wow. A Sauternes-style dessert wine. Everything you want in a botrytis wine at a great price. Hints of smoke and musk on top, with a delightful flavor of honeysuckle and lychee. Sugary, but with well-balanced acidity. $13.