Chilling with some wines from Chile

Chile is the sixth largest wine producing country in the world. The average consumption is 17 litres of wine per person.

We start with a Echeverria Gran Reserva Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. Pinot Noir often is seen as a bit of a cash cow as Europe and North America search for inexpensive Pinot Noirs therefore plantings of it have increased in Chile. It’s reputation is not that hot but there are a few good producers to note. My favourite is Domaine Villard which produces a real whopper.

In this case I would not say the wine has what we might call “classic” Pinot Noir aromas but a reasonable semblance thereof. That’s certainly not fatal but perhaps indicative of a different terroir. There is raspberry, black cherry and perhaps a bit much oak. On the palate low on tannins. And as for fruit some blackberry and raspberry but it lacks intensity. I don’t agree when the label says the wine is rich and elegant. I would say it is thin and lacklustre.

(Echeverria Family Wines Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2018, Viña Echeverria, Molina, Chile, $15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 485284, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar rating 85/100).

Carmenère was thought to be Merlot for some 145 years until DNA established it was in fact Carmenère. It is becoming known as Chile’s signature grape as Malbec is for Argentina. The word Carmenère comes from the Latin carmin (crimson) which is the colour of the leaves at harvest time. This one comes from Viña San Pedro.

The nose is full of big fat and ripe black cherry along with hints of blackberry and cedar. On the palate noticeable tannins. There is black cherry, plum and raisin pie as well. I wouldn’t say that there is much complexity in the palate. I notice good minerality and earthiness to the wine. A good simple wine great with a platter of grilled meats or grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce! I would bet it will improve in the next 3-4 years.

(1865 Selected Vineyards, Carmenére 2018, D.O. Valle Del Maule, Viña San Pedro, Molina, Chile, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 249201, 750 mL, 14.5%, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 91/100).

We finish off with a Viu Manent Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from the Colchagua Valley and for a bargain price of $16.95. But is it any good?

On the nose blueberry leads the charge but there is black cherry and blackberry. In comparison to Australia and Californian Cabs this wine is far more guarded. It was aged in French oak for 12 months but any detection of oak is difficult which indicates the oak barrels were old oak and subject to previous fills.

On the palate moderate and fleeting tannins. The fruit is tightly wrapped but tear the paper, so as to speak, and there is some black cherry and a tad of chocolate. On the palate I would say I am disappointed as the fruit seems imprisoned. I mean it is well made and balanced but it simply lacks the stuffing a little more fruit on the plate might give it. I reminds me of an Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon which generally speaking is nothing to be proud of.

(Viu Manet Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Valle de Colchagua, Viña Viu Manet, Santa Cruz, Chile, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 569673, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen Set The Bar Rating 85/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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