07 November 2012

A Dozen Chilean Wines

Recently it was time once again for a big Wines of Chile blogger tasting. 12 bottles, 60 bloggers, 6 winemakers on the video webcast from Santiago, and one very crowded computer desk here in Memphis. My photos are not accurately broken up per the tasting, which included three bottles each of four different grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Carménère, and Cabernet Sauvignon, each chosen to display the unique terroir of Chile's many valleys.

The organization picked out some great wines for this tasting, and I was able to enjoy the copious leftovers for days afterward. I really like this selection as it provides a nice range of wines. A lot can be learned from tasting eight Sauvignon Blancs in a row, but then you're left with a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the house.

#1: 2012 Nimbus Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Casablanca Valley
$13, 13.8% abv.
Overall herbal profile with grass and lemon peel and a bitter edge. Crisp and tart with a brief finish.

#2: 2011 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Leyda Valley
$19, 13.5% abv.
Similar to the first but with more of a lemongrass and grapefruit peel aroma. Not quite as tart and a longer finish.

#3: 2011 Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Colchagua Valley
$19, 13% abv.
Crisp and bitter edge with more grapefruit pith than peel. Some floral aromas emerge once it warms up.

#4: 2010 Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir
Casablanca Valley
$19: 14% abv.
This organic Pinot Noir has notes of bacon fat and ripe wild strawberry. Chilean Pinot Noir is getting better every year.

#5: 2009 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir
Casablanca Valley
$32, 14.5% abv.
Mild, delicate, and easy sipping with light aromas of red cherry and prune. Similar to Oregon in profile, and I would love to pair this with salmon.

#6: 2009 Morandé Gran Reserva Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir
Casablanca Valley
$18, 14% abv.
Mild nose of raspberry with a touch of tartness. Low tannins and a long finish.

#7: 2010 Marques Casa Concha Carménère
100% Carménère
Rapel Valley
$22, 14% abv.
The Carménères have always been interesting, but I tend to prefer more of a blend than a single grape bottle. This one was herbal and vegetal with a black cherry aroma. Firm tannins.

#8: 2010 Carmen Gran Reserva Carménère
100% Carménère
Apalta Valley
$15, 13.8% abv.
This is more of a classic Carménère. Deep and slightly bitter with green tomato leaf flavors and a dark plum background. This one is especially good after about an hour of breathing.

#9: 2009 Koyle Royale Carménère
85% Carménère, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec
Colchagua Valley
$26, 14.5% abv.
Firm coffee and tomato leaf aroma with dark plum flavors. The additional grapes really help balance out the primary variety. Highly recommended.

#10: 2009 Ventisquero Grey Cabernet Sauvignon
97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot
Maipo Valley
$29, 14.5% abv.
Deep and dark with green bell pepper, leather, and blackberry notes. Medium tannins, and it could probably take a couple more years of aging.

#11: 2010 Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Colchagua Valley
$19, 13.5% abv.
Plum and leather aromas with medium tannins and balanced fruit flavors of cassis and plum.

#12: 2009 Le Dix de Los Vascos
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, rest is Syrah and Carménère
Colchagua Valley
$65, 14% abv.
This one definitely stood out from the pack with its French style label. It also has the most Bordeaux-like profile of any Chilean red wine I've ever had. It's only released in good years and I was excited to get a chance to try this for the first time. Great cassis and tobacco with a hint of cedar. Rich black cherry flavors that go deep with balanced tannins and a long finish. Highly recommended, and break out the rack of lamb.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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