08 March 2013

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Trio

I recently got to try three pleasant and affordable Chilean red wines, all primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and available for well under two sawbucks here in los Estados Unidos.

2010 Peñalolen Cabernet Sauvignon
Maipo Valley, Chile
90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc
$15, 14% abv.

The haunting stoneware head on the label is the work of Chilean sculptor Benjamín Lira. His website features a lot of similar work, and these faces are much larger than you might expect. I imagine they are truly spectacular in person. Plummy aromas and flavors with lots of deep jam and blackberries. Touch of ash on the nose and a nice ripe dark fruit profile with medium tannins that last a long time. Slightly vegetal aftertaste. Perfect with a little thin crust pizza covered in garlic. Additional side trivia: when you encounter a Chilean word that is not in the Spanish dictionary, it's probably Mapuche. Peñalolén means "meeting of brothers”, and reminds me a bit of the 80s software company Brøderbund (roughly Scandinavian "band of brothers"), but let me stress, not the Afrikaner Broederbond of old South Africa.

2011 Hacienda Araucano Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva
Colchagua Valley, Chile
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$11, 13.5% abv.

This offering from François Lurton has pleasant aromas of cedar and red cherry. Luscious red fruit with very mild tannins and a soft finish. Quite mild for such a young Cab Sav. The website's recommendations for lamb and duck are spot on.

2011 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva
Colchagua Valley, Chile
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$11, 13.5% abv.

Black currant and ash on the nose, with deep blackberry flavors and a tannic, spicy profile. Long finish. Great bargain and highly recommended with a grilled burger topped with bleu cheese.

Note: These wines were received as samples.


fredric koeppel said...

I'm a fan of the Penalolen wines...

Joeshico said...

Chilean Cabs are becoming quite popular. Based on my own tastings, I think that there has been a large improvement on the quality of Chilean wines in general over the past 3 years.

Benito said...


I'm looking forward to trying some of their other bottles. And I might look for a print of one of those sculptures--unfortunately I don't have that much room in my den for an original.


Agreed, particularly with Pinot Noir, which I think has shown the quickest improvement.