The recent Wines of Chile tasting and a few other samples means that there's been a lot of bargain Chilean wine in the house, such that I can come home from work and open una botella chilena with dinner. As always, I taste blindish... I don't read the website, price, label, notes or other collateral material, I just tend to pick white or red and make a vague decision on the grape variety to figure out what's going to go with the evening meal. I opened up this one and was immediately impressed. A glass later I decided that I couldn't do it justice with leftovers and needed to save it for a proper meal when I could sit back and properly enjoy it.
2006 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta
Apalta, Colchagua Valley
$60, 14% abv.
50% Carménère, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Bold currants and figs with a spicy nose. A touch of tea, slightest hint of cedar. On the palate it is quite smooth with a slightly tannic finish. Forward fruit but excellent balance. An amazing pairing with heavily seasoned steak and roasted sweet potatoes.
The vines are between 35 and 120 years old. Not sure how that works out on the "old vines" designation argument, but I will definitely put these in the "of a certain age" category. Highly recommended, and while it was great now, I think this one could continue to improve for the next couple of years.
By the way, the word Neyen is Mapuche for "breath" or "spirit", though the word spirit also comes from the Latin for breathing. When you expire, you stop breathing. When you conspire, several of you act with the same breath. When you aspire, you're so excited you breathe more. When you perspire, you breathe through the skin. If you inspire someone, you fill them with breath; if you are uninspired you are fairly deflated. Next week, tune in for my ramble about the Latin verb scribere and the many English words that derive from it.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.