It may be winter in Chile right now, but up here in the Northern hemisphere it's time to enjoy some cool, crisp, lighter wines from that country. But these particular grapes may surprise you. I'm not going to be reviewing Sauvignon Blanc or Carménère in this post.
Also, these wines were shipped with a pair of GoVino wine glasses. They're made out of flexible and recyclable polyethylene terephthalate, a BPA-free, food-safe plastic. I've used the Riedel O series in the past, but these glasses were a lot of fun for casual sipping. You can drop them or smack into them without any problem, but just don't put them in the dishwasher. I've heard they are quite popular for outdoor parties, and speaking of convenience, all of the following wines are enclosed with screwcaps.
2012 Cartagena Gewürztraminer
San Antonio Valley
$17, 13% abv.
Imagine that you're playing Taboo or some sort of other guessing game, and you give the clues "Cartagena" and "Gewürztraminer". I doubt that Chile would ever enter into the guesses before the little hourglass timed out. But Cartagena is also a picturesque coastal area in the Valparaíso region of Chile. Pablo Neruda wrote there, and I'd highly recommend his saucy "Ode to Wine". Julia loved this one, with a bright nose of ripe peach with some floral undertones and just a little spicy edge. Good acidity and fairly dry. Quite a difference from the California expressions of this grape that I've tried over the years.
2012 Cono Sur Bicicleta Riesling
$10, 13.5% abv.
This one really surprised me with a very German profile. Wet rocks and petrol, light white fruit aromas, clean finish. Great minerality, decent acidity, and a little earthy on the finish. I'm hoping that I'm tasting the red clay soils in the true spirit of tasting on terroir. A great bargain, and one that would be a perfect ringer to put in a blind tasting among friends.
2012 Calcu Rosé
50% Malbec, 40% Syrah, 10% Petite Verdot
$13, 12% abv.
A great blend of grapes that manages to be still lighter and drier than you might expect. Ripe aromas of red cherries and plums, tart acidity, and a long finish that has just the barest hint of tannins. Dry rosés are wonderful in the summer, and this one did not disappoint. I kept it in a bucket of ice outside while I was smoking some lamb chops for dinner. On top of that, I love the dancing cow on the label, somewhere between abstract watercolors and the careful curves of Lascaux cave paintings. Highly recommended.
Note: These wines were provided as samples.