Chilean Blends

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Chile Tasting

Have I mentioned lately how much fun the Wines of Chile Tastings are? If I haven’t, I should. The lovely PR people for the Wines of Chile gather a herd of cats [wine bloggers], send us all wine, a corkscrew, and something else fun from Chile and then let us video taste with the winemakers from Chile. It is just about the coolest thing I get to do as a wine blogger. I look forward to these tastings every time. This wine comes from a tasting I participated in back in late October. Again, I’m tardy, but better late than never? One of the wines was this 2006 Maquis Lien. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $19. The wine is a blend of 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petite Verdot, and 7% Malbec.

On the nose I found plum, smoke, meat, spice, pepper, bubblegum, a green note, mint, and chocolate. The bubblegum is something I found on several of the wines in this tasting, all of which had Petite Verdot in common, making me wonder if the Petite Verdot lent that characteristic to the wine. In the mouth I got black cherry, back plum, lots and lots of tannins, pepper, blueberry, meat, chocolate, and earth. I found it to be darker on the palate than I had anticipated and the tannins made me think running this through a decanter would be a good bet.

It’s a mystery

I found a bottle of wine in my basement and I have absolutely no idea where it came from. None. The importer yielded no clues, it didn’t have paperwork taped to it like I do with the samples I get, nothing. So that leaves a couple options. It was a present from someone. My dad bought it. Or it’s a sample that came with no information (which I do get quite frequently, what’s up with that??) and the return address was a P.O. Box. The wine is the 2007 Odfjell Vineyards Armador Carmenere. If you sent this to me, fess up and I’ll let folks know where it arrived from. The wine clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for about $10.

On the nose I got pepper, spice, peppers, cedar, blackberry, black cherry, and earth. In the mouth I got blackberry, anise, earth, black cherry, spice, and other dark fruits. This is a big, big wine, with aggressive tannins (that’s such a funny phrase, but really accurate, if you think of tannins sort of beating up your tongue).

More Red Blends from Chile

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Chile in order to participate in a tasting.

This post gets the same explanation as the previous Chilean Red Blends post. I simply did not get around to typing up my notes and publishing them in a timely manner, but still want you all to hear about these wines. Next up is the 2008 Estampa Gold Assemblage. Also a Carmenere heavy blend, this one is 57% Carmenere, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petite Verdot. It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14% alcohol by volume, and retails for $22.

On the nose I got bubblegum, pepper, spice, red fruit notes, cardamom, thyme, cherry, and the rest of my spice rack thrown in for good measure. On the palate I found huge herbal notes, black cherry, and more herbs. I found the herbal quality to be a bit overwhelming and it also had huge tannins. Both of those characteristics had mellowed by the time I went back to it much later that evening, but it definitely took time.

Getting Chile

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Wines of Chile PR folks in order to participate in a Wines of Chile tasting

Ok. I flat out admit that I am super duper duper behind on my posts. I have no excuse for this beyond the fact that all fall I was extremely pregnant and my energy level was at about a minus 10 and writing one post a week felt really taxing at the time. So I participated in the a red blends from Chile tasting in September? October? And I have yet to write up the wines. They were good though, so I don’t want you to miss out. One of my favorites was this 2007 Coyam Emiliana. It clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, retails for around $29, and is a blend of 38% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 17% Merlot, 2% Petite Verdot, and 1% Mouvedre.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, something almost floral, cigar box, an exotic spice shop, more herbs than you can shake a stick at, plum, pencil lead, and violets. In the mouth I found black cherry, black plum, fresh cracked pepper, violets, chocolate, meat, and blackberry. For me, the Syrah really dominated this wine, but the whole package was just lovely. It was silky and smooth in the mouth, and I loved it.

Dreaming of White Wines

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Wines of Chile

Even though the weather refuses to cooperate, I am steadfastly refusing to accept the fact that spring is not here. Though honestly, it’s almost the middle of April and still cold and rainy. I swear I saw frost on the ground the other day. I’ll be sorely disappointed if we jump right into the sweltering summer without a hint of our usual gorgeous spring, one of the upsides of living in the DC area. Being in complete denial, I’m still keeping up my normal habit of enjoying white wine on the porch in the evenings, even if I’m doing it wrapped in a fleece blanket. Denial is powerful. With that in mind, we opened up the 2009 Haras Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It clocks in at 13% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for around $12.

On the nose you get a lovely aroma of a nicely built Sauvingon Blanc. I found grass, citrus, lemon, lemongrass, pineapple, tropical notes, stone, and white peach. I thought this wine had a gorgeous nose, easily one of the nicest I’ve found so far from a Chilean Sauvingon Blanc. The palate seemed dominated by grassy notes, with lemon, melon, and other citrus fruits lurking below. Overall it reminded me of a spring morning with the lawn being freshly mown. Good acidity, tart fruit, and the price point make this an easy recommendation for rotation into your porch sipping wines.

I have a system

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Wines of Chile PR folks.

And it usually works fairly well, in terms of how I take notes and write up bottles of wine.  Whomever opens the wine takes the pictures. Then, I taste with dinner. After dinner, I move over to my little couch and take notes as I’m tasting directly into a draft blog post. The bottle of wine gets finished over the next day or two and then I put it beside my couch, until such time as I am going to post, so that I have it for any information I want off the bottle. At times, the bottles go missing. I think little wine bottle elves make off with them. This throws my system off. Like today. I have 20 empties next to me. But I’m missing the one I am writing, the 2009 Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc. It retails for about $13 and had a screw cap closure.

On the nose I got lime, tropical undertones, steel, white grapefruit, and peach notes. Overall I found the nose to be fairly citrusy.  In the mouth, more lime, peaches, and grapefruit, along with lime zest showed up. It still had that flinty, steel note from the nose, but it lacked the sweeter notes on the palate that I perceived on the nose.  In comparison with the other Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I tasted that evening, this was had more acidity and leaned more toward the mouth puckering element of Sauvignon Blanc. I found it very refreshing.



Another Mystery Wine

I don’t know where this wine came from. I’m leaning toward that it must have been a sample from the Wines of Chile folks, but I can’t recall when I did a tasting with them that wasn’t Carmenere or Sauvignon Blanc.  Unless this came from the Carmenere tasting, though it’s not a mainly Carmenere based wine….So I’m stumped. It was on my sample rack, so I know that much. We pulled out the 2004 Carmen Wine Maker’s Reserve to go with our BBQ ribs the other night. The wine consists of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carmenere, 20% Petite Syrah [sic], and 10% Merlot. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and looks to retail for about $44.

On the nose I found dark berries, plums, very dark, dense fruit, spice, earth, raisins, menthol, and a hint of a green note, but nothing I found off-putting. In the mouth I got cedar, raisins, black plums, and a hint of cherry. To me this was a huge, tannic, dense wine with something just a bit sharp on the finish that threw me off. Some more time in the bottle might benefit this one or some serious air time before you drink it.