- Tasting on the same day as the release of the final miners in Chile, gave this tasting a much deeper significance.
- Tasting these wines not only gave us a sense of place, but it was also a celebration of their release from Smother Earth.
- The miners were NOT in Chile’s wine region. They were further south.
- We were given a large map of Chile, and I found their location before we began, so we could better understand the complete experience.
- The wines from Chile we tasted were all delicious, and had a decided sense of earthiness.
- This is coincidental to the miners being released from the earth, but I will now always associate that earthy experience. The emotional experience has marked that essence in my mind forevermore.
- All wines were new to us:
- Valdivieso Eclat 2005, Maule Valley
- De Martino Single Vineyard, Old Bush Vines, “Las Cruces” 2006, Cachapoal Valley
- Estampa Gold Assemblage Carmenere 2008, Colchagua Valley
- Viña Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere 2008, Colchagua Valley
- Maquis Lien, 2006, Colchague Valley
- Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol 2008, Colchagua Valley
- Emiliana Coyam 2007, Colchagua Valley
- Casas del Bosque, Gran Estate Selection, Private Reserve 2007, Casablanca Valley
- Rhone varieties are used extensively in red wine blends in Chile, besides the Bordeaux-style blends.
- Carmenere is a major blending components, even when Cabernet Sauvignon is present.
- We all tasted a sense of “place” in the wines. (Sondra Barrett, Jose Diaz, Debbie Shu, and Jo Diaz).
- There were flavors that we had not experienced from other Bordeaux and Rhone blending wines.
- I expected that there would be much more use of Malbec….
- More like Argentine wines, but I stand corrected.
- The wine regions of Chile are the following (all approximates by eyeballing the map without each degree being very speicific):
- Elqui Valley ~ The most northern viticultural area, on Line 30° latitude
- Limarí Valley ~ next on Line 30.5° latitude
- Choapa Valley ~ Line 31.75° latitude
- Aconcagua Valley ~ Line 33° latitude
- Casablanca Valley (now I can put two and two together on Casablanca) ~ Line 33.3° latitude
- San Antonia/Layda Valley ~ Line 33.5° latitude
- Maipo Valley ~ Line 33.75° latitude
- Rapel/Colchagua Valley ~ Line 34.25° latitude
- Rapel/Cachapoal Valley ~ Line 34.5° latitude
- Curicó Valley ~ Line 35.1° latitude
- Maule Valley ~ Line 36.25° latitude
- Itata Valley ~ Line 36.8° latitude
- Bío Bío Valley ~ Line 37.25° latitude
- Malleco Valley ~ Line 38.25° latitude
- The Wines of Chile organization behind this tasting is very well organized.
- The wineries themselves still have some catching up to do with American marketing. I could only find a few Websites to support the brands and provide links to each.
In this presentation, we were also given 1492 Olive Oil… Just as I learned while I was in the Alentejo region of Portugal, Olive trees are part and parcel for the Chilean wine grape growing region experience. The kit also included a tiny jar of Merquén Spice. It’s a combination of dried and smoked chiles, with salt, cumin and coriander. I’ve got to find a use for that one.
Because we tasted in a restaurant, it wasn’t as easy to follow the conversations on line in the virtual tasting meeting. Winemakers were all discussing their wines and winemaking practices. Had I tasted alone, I would have had those conversations to relay. It was all happening simultaneously on line; but, rather than follow the dialogue, my tasters and I had our own conversations and revelations going about the flavors.
It was a great tasting opportunity and experience, and I’m appreciative to be chosen as a resource for this one. I wish you could have all been there. I highly recommend finding any of these wines. You’ll have a great ¡Ole! tasting.
- Chilean Red Blends (wine-by-benito.blogspot.com)
- Wines of Chile: Exploring Chilean Red Blends (winepeeps.com)