Monday, April 12, 2010

Chilean Wines - April 14th 2010 - Ms. Abbie

Photography by Matthew Lane of Zazen Photo LLC
Chilean Wines - April 14th 2010 - Ms. Abbie

Wikipedia: Chilean Wine - red or white wines from vineyards in Chile.
We do this month's wine choice to support the Chilean Wine Industry which recently survived an earthquake in March of 2010.

Interesting history: The Berlin Tasting, which is to Chilean Wines as the Judgement of France was to California Wines (if you saw the movie Bottle Shock).
Food Pairings: Wines of Chile - pairing advice. We did our best to pair the food with the wine, and we served: sauteed mushrooms, roasted carnitas, roasted red peppers, mixed greek olives, brie, goat cheese, ementhaler cheese, asiago cheese, and manchego cheese, fresh pineapple, ratatouille, and gluten-free crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers brand).

List of Chilean wines we'll be tasting (special thanks to Ralph Taylor at for putting this together for us):

  1. Agustinos Carmenere Reserve '05 - retail price $11.99
  2. De Martino Legado Reserva Syrah '04 - retail price $14.99
  3. Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Noir '09 - retail price $11.99
  4. Apaltagua Envero Gran Reserva '07 - retail price $14.99
  5. Marquis Lien '06 - retail price $14.99
  6. Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay '07 - retail price $19.99
  7. Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc '08 - retail price $15.99
  8. Penalolen Cabernet Sauvignon '07 - retail price $19.99

Information and Tasting Notes:
1. Agustinos Carmenere Reserve '05 – The Winery is Gracia De Chile, The Region is Curico Valley. The VC Family Estates was created in 1989 in order to produce fine and top quality wines. VC is not only searching for the best terroir for each strain, but also counts with wineries and vineyards in the different valleys of Chile and Argentina, which have unique characteristics for Wine Production. Agustinos is born in order to promote a new concept in wines, highlighting the importance of nature and its legacy. The Philosophy of Agustinos is to have develop techniques to elaborate the best wine without harming nature, and has therefore aquired a strong commitment towards the environment in all its processes, starting with vineyard development up to the production in its wineries. Grapes from their wines come from their own vineyards, which allow them to control the process and harvesting. They use solar energy, biomass, waste water treatment in the winery, biodynamic viticulture, produce organic wines, and strive to use ecological suppliers. They use recycled glass for bottles, recycled paper for the labels, etc. Agustinos promotes training for the workers and salesmen and as they educate, hope to inspire and inform clients about the incredible benefits of their wines promoting well being and a healthy balanced lifestyle. TASTING NOTES: Dark, both jammy and spicy, not smoky. Dominated by oak until it has a chance to breathe. Nice tannins, especially in the finish.

2. De Martino Legado Reserva Syrah '04 – Vina De Martino is recognized in Latin America as the First Carbon neutral winery, and was the first winery to offer a wine labeled Carmenere. In 2004 bottled the only wine to carry Choapa Valley appellation, and are certified for clean production, and certified organic since 2001. In 2006 they signed an agreement with CODEFF (private institution dedicated to conservation of Chilean flora and fauna). They are now selling carbon credits (generic term referring to value assigned to a reduction or offset of greenhouse gas emisions). TASTING NOTES: A well-balanced blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon with black cherry flavors and a long and fruity finish. Aged for 12 months in French oak. Produced from estate grapes.

3. Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Noir '09 – TASTING NOTES: Apaltagua’s Pinot Noir has a brilliant ruby color and emphasizes aromas of cherries, raspberries, and soft notes of oak. It boasts smooth and elegant tannins and a sophisticated finish. The grapes come from Apaltagua’s own vineyard in Tricao in the Curico Valley.

4. Apaltagua Envero Gran Reserva '07 - Apaltagua Winery, located in the prestigious Apalta region in Chile's Colchagua Valley, specializes in one distinguished, but lesser known, grape varietal - Carmenère. Carmenère is considered the "lost Bordeaux" variety, as it was originally planted in Bordeaux, but was abandoned there because it was too late ripening for the Bordeaux climate. Thankfully, the Carmenère variety was imported to Chile where it not only survives (because of a longer growing season), but makes exceptionally good wines. Apaltagua, owned by the Edward Tutunjian family, has a missionary-like zeal in its dedication to the Carmenère grape. The winery produces three levels of Carmenère based wines: Apaltagua Estate Carmenère, Apaltagua Envero, and Apaltagua Grial. The resulting wines exhibit a chocolately richness and a peppery edge, combining the best of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in one grape. All of Apaltagua's wines are made under the watchful eye of one of Chile’s leading winemakers, Alvaro Espinoza. TASTING NOTES: Made of 90% Carmenère and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, Envero's dark, rich fruit is complemented by eight months in French oak. All the fruit comes from the Apalta region of Colchagua, with the vines over 50 years old. A complex offering.

5. Maquis Lien '06 - The Hurtado family has owned the Viña Maquis vineyard for more than a century, but it wasn’t until ten years ago that the family decided to make their own wine out of the terrific grapes in their own backyard. They built a gorgeous, state-of-the-art gravity flow winery and set out to make a “Super Chilean” blend using the vineyard’s best red grapes. Located in Valle de Colchagua, the vineyard's terroir is deeply influenced by its geographic position, as it is surrounded by the Tinguiririca River and the Chimbarongo Creek—two large waterways that once brought alluvial sediments from the Andes. Today, they act as pathways for cool coastal breezes that help moderate the warm Colchagua summers, contributing to the intensity and fruitness of the wines. The distinctive 2006 Maquis Lien is made from a finely tuned blend of 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec. It is a generous red wine that reflects the character of the Hurtado family’s special plot of land. To make this fruity and concentrated blend, winemakers Ricardo Rivadeneira Hurtado and Alejandro Jofré have developed vines that bear no more than 12 bunches of grapes per vine. Only the ripest grapes are picked, then sorted by hand at the winery. The Lien is barrel aged for 12 months in French oak. In Chile's native Mapuche language, lien means “silver metal”—a reference to colonial Spanish coins that were once melted to make fine jewelry, like the lizard on the Maquis label. TASTING NOTES: "Ruby-red. Mellow, smoky aromas of cherry, singed plum, licorice and oak. Packs a solid punch but this is surprisingly light in weight, even graceful, offering sweet dark fruit flavors and good spicy lift. Shows an exotic floral quality on the long, sappy, sharply focused finish. "

6. Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay '07 - Errazuriz was founded in 1870 in the Aconcagua Valley, 65 miles north of the capital, Santiago, and at the foot of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the seven summits of the world. Today, the tradition lives on with Eduardo Chadwick, the fifth generation of his family to lead this exceptional estate. Eduardo’s work has been colossal, bringing Errazuriz into a new era where it is acknowledged as a producer of world-class wines, and opened eyes around the globe as to Chile’s incredible and diverse sites. Errazuriz ferments its best lots of Chardonnay using natural yeasts. Natural fermentation starts slower than inoculated fermentation because the yeasts must grow to sufficient numbers to transform sugars into alcohol. During this period the yeasts produce by-products which add distinctive flavors and complexity to the wine. Some lots start the fermentation and eventually finish, others ferment slowly and do not finish off the sugars completely, leaving more mouth feel. These natural fermentations take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to complete while the inoculated lots take less than a week. The winter of 2007 was one of Chile’s coldest and driest in 40 years, and spring soil moisture levels were lower than in previous years, which provoked a uniform but slow budbreak 10–15 days later than in the previous season. The grapes were hand-picked early in the morning, rigorously sorted and then gently wholecluster pressed. Following wild fermentation, approximately 50% of the final blend was further enhanced by malolactic fermentation. The entire blend was aged on its lees for 8 months in French oak barrels, 21% new. TASTING NOTES: Light straw yellow in color, our 2007 Wild Ferment Chardonnay is particularly complex on the nose and palate. With good intensity, it delivers notes that range from toast to nuts to aromas that recall tropical fruits such as pineapple and cherimoya. There’s a light touch of smoke and ash lingering in the background that lead to an outstanding palate that nicely blends crisp acidity with a sweetish sensation. Medium-bodied and creamy on the palate, with flavors that are consistent with the nose. Fresh and elegant, with a delightfully long finish.

7. Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc '08 - The Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard blend is sourced from a specific block at our La Escultura Estate, located in the Casablanca Valley just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, which provides a coastal influence that moderates temperatures during the ripening period. Cool sea breezes enable an easy and gradual ripening period that helps conserve flavor and ensures good acidity levels in the grapes. 2008 Vintage The 2008 growing season began with one of the driest and coldest winters Chile has seen, and the springtime moisture level in the soil was considerably lower than in previous years. The fruit was hand-picked later than average and most of the juice was fermented in stainless-steel tanks, with just 2% barrel-fermented to add complexity to the final blend. The lots were aged on their lees for 3 months to develop texture and mouthfeel. TASTING NOTES: The 2008 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that exhibits great elegance, whit a fruit expression particularly complex that develops layers of aromas and flavors, lending it a distinct identity. The nose recalls citrus such as grapefruit mingled with a slightly tropical profile and a note of fresh-cut grass. The palate is lush, ample, and persistent. “The light straw-colored 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard is an elegant rendering of this grape with enticing aromas of citrus and passion fruit, medium body, excellent balance, and a lengthy finish. It is also an excellent value.” 89 Wine Advocate Exclusive US

8. Penalolen Cabernet Sauvignon '07 – Vina Penalolen (Vee-nya Pee-nya-loh-lehn) - Peñalolén winery was founded by vineyard owner Ricardo Peña and his wife Isabel with the objective to produce unique Chilean wines, full of personality and verve. The wines are made by winemaker Jean-Pascal Lacaze, well respected for his deft hand in producing memorable wines. All grapes are grown and hand harvested with meticulous care to guarantee the integrity of the fruit, and picked early in the morning when the weather is coolest. Peñalolén is truly a family-owned, boutique winery committed to making wines of distinction. 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Low yields and hand harvesting indicate the care given to the superior fruit from this single-vineyard winery located on the gravelly slopes of the Maipo Valley. These standards extend to the wine-making process, with meticulous grape selection and aging in French oak barrels for 12 months. TASTING NOTES: Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this is a complex and velvety wine with a soft structure, spicy tannins, and a fruity finish. The Wine Spectator gave the prior vintage 90 points


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