After tasting the value priced Sav Blanc yesterday, I’m excited to try the Carmenere today. The vineyard is just at the foot of the Andes, and the vines struggle. The nose on the wine is very spicy and green, which is different than the palate. The palate has black pepper, earthy and spicy, and would be amazing with east Asian food with a spicy backbone. Carmenere is a misunderstood grape, and this is a great example that is pure and honest — and is not pure green pepper. At $12.99, I would buy this every day!
From Chile, located in the Central Valley, this Sauvignon Blanc is Distinctly Chile. With a rich stone fruit aroma, it is a combination of flavor profiles from New Zealand and the riper areas of California. Lime zest, nectarines, lemons, with an almost candied finish. There is a touch of brineness from the coastal influence, which rounds out the finish. The acid is well balanced and a great low priced white to enjoy all sumer long. Fresh and lively, this is a great budging keeping at $9, for hot summer days.
Maycas Limari 2008 Chardonnay is grown 300 miles north of Santiago and 8 miles in from the coast. It’s 100% chardonnay and sells for $20. It’s nice that there isn’t too much oak on the front, but it has an interesting flavor that i’ve found in most Chilean wines. I’m not so much of a chardonay person, and this is a miss for me.
With the economy in the state of panic that is is, and my wine budget being usurped by silly things like groceries, I have been spending a lot of time recently seeing out budget friendly wines that are tasty alternatives to their North American counterparts. Chile is one such place. With a plethora of not so good wines on the market, you have to seek out the good stuff, but there is plenty of good stuff to be had! Before I became a wine blogger, I used to by Chilean wine at Cost Plus or Costo when I was feeling the penny pinch. One of my favorite brands was Montes, and in particular the Montes Alpha Cabernet. At $15 for a very rich and smooth cab, I thought this was a steal. Now that i am blogging, I am lucky enough to have made friends with Rob Bralow, who works for the Wines of Chile PR folks and has given me different samples to try as well as a ton of information. Armed with this knowledge, I can now go forth and shop for Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Sauvignon blends and feel confident that I can find a tasty treat under budget! First, a little geography lesson. Chile is a long, narrow country that hugs the west coast of South America. It is widely known for its stunning Andes mountains, but is increasingly known for it’s wines. Wine grapes in Chile are primary grown between the latitudes of 32 and 38 degrees south, which is similar to southern Spain and parts of North Africa. The differnece between these European regions and Chile is the climate. Chile is a more temperate zone, with mild summers and winters. It has a Meddi9terrain climate, and is similar to Calfornia in that way. Chilean wine has a long winemaking history, which began in the 16th cnetury wwhen the conquistaor brought their European Vitis Vinifera grapes with them. Later on, i nthe 1700s, the fighting varitals of Cabernet Sauvignona nd Merlot were planted. Carménère is relatively new to Chile, but was often mistaken for Merlot in the younger days of their wine industry. In the 1990s it was finally recognized as it’s own varietal, which was broght over from Europe before it was wiped out there frm teh phylloxera epidemic. Carménère is hard to produce in cooler climates becuse it is a late ripening grape, but it was well suited to Chile’s temperate cilmate. Chile has many different wine regions and they can produce vasty different wines. This is mostly owing to the fact that Chiles geography is NOrth to South, so you have roughtly the distance of Seattle to Los Angeles to deal with. As we all know, Los Angeles ain’t no Seattle! Some regions that you may have heard of are: Aconcagua, which includes two smaller regions. This is one of the newest regions, and is one of the cooler micro climates in Chile. It has had success growing Chardonnay and […]
Recently, the good PR folks from The Wines of Chile (@RobBralow) sent me a surprise box of wine samples. In this box, held a treat for the sense, and an 89 pointer. Ok fine, really it was 88 points by the Spectator but it was voted a Best Buy. The 2006 Viu Secreto Malbec hails from the Colchagua Valley region of Chile. The Colchagua Valley lies about 80 miles southwest of Santiago, and has a moderate climate. It has often been compared to Napa in many ways, but I bet you won’t find a Napa Malbec at this price point! This Malbec is priced at a fighting $10-15, and is worth every penny in my opinion. I immediately smell a smokey richness, with fennel and herbs. It is a rich and chewy wine, which one would expect in the over $20 category, but is a treat at this price point. On the palate, there is heavy plum and herb, with an earthy richness. I also taste lavendar and a nice pepper overtone. Chile has become my go to region for budget minded wines. I have personally tasted several Cabernet blends that are priced around $10 and are a STEAL. Particular varietals that do well in Chile are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sauvingnon Blanc. I’m still exploring other varietals, so please stay tuned! Walk, don’t run to your local shop for this gem! Cross posted to the 89 Project Google