09 April 2012

2011 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah

It was a Saturday morning and I was gearing up for my lunch date with Julia. Nothing too complex--sandwiches with Black Forest ham and smoked Gouda and chips with homemade aïoli. I have a lot of Chilean white wine on hand for an upcoming tasting, but was really craving a rosé. Two hours before lunch, a driver showed up with a Chilean rosé sample. Mirabile visu.

The wine worked well, and after lunch I stepped out to check the mail. No letters, but I did see my neighbors a few houses down, who happen to be from Chile. We've never been particularly close, but there's no bad blood, and I was in a cheerful mood. So I popped back out with a fresh bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley and a couple of wine glasses and enjoyed a driveway tasting along with my bad attempts at speaking Spanish. Then I broke out the Chilean olive oil and some wrinkly salt cured olives and... two hours and three empty bottles later, we parted ways and I've been told that I'm getting some homemade empanadas in the future.

Folks, nothing eliminates the stuffy, serious stereotype of wine and the bunker-like isolation of suburbia like enjoying wine barefoot in the driveway.

2011 Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah
Colchagua Valley, Chile
100% Syrah, Stainless Steel Fermentation
$15, 13.5% abv.

Darker than expected with a magenta hue. There's a fascinating herbal/vegetal aroma that was surprising and immediately tells you that this isn't a sweet pink wine. There's a strong fruit presence of red cherry and plum, with tart acidity and a clean finish. More tannic than most rosés. This is a substantial pink bordering on a red that is still fun and interesting, and is perfect for this kind of mild spring weather.

By the way, the label is drawn by the great Ralph Steadman, an illustrator whose frenetic ink splatters are most often associated with Hunter S. Thompson but who has also done great labels for beer and wine bottles over the years. In this one, he painted a caricature of winemaker Aurelio Montes as a diaper-clad cherub.

Note: This wine was received as a sample.

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