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A video review of great red wine from Chile – Los Vascos 2006 Reserve

Los Vascos Reserve Chilean red wine from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

I love it when people drink the same wine across the world to compare notes, and the Wines of Chile blogger event in May 2009 was amazing for that opportunity.  You’ve probably seen my posts on some of the wines we enjoyed that night, the Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir for example. Additionally, you probably know I’m a big fan of wine from Chile; I feel Chile offers some great wines at quite reasonable prices. This event, hosted by the PR folks at  Wines of Chile, and moderated by  Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, allowed 8 wine makers to answer  questions for the bloggers, so we could learn a bit about them, and their wines.

As you’ll see in the short video wine review above, I’ve discussed what my tasting notes were during the event, then revisited each wine the next day to see how they stood up. This wine, the Los Vascos Reserve (blend) was actually more enjoyable the next day, benefiting from some time opening. The Los Vascos vineyard has been part of  Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) since 1988, which is a wonderful pedigree to have associated with your wines. Los Vascos website does not seem to have information specifically on the blend we had the opportunity to taste with the bloggers event, but there is some great information on the site for your Chilean wine education.

Los Vascos reserve Chilean red wine

Los Vascos reserve Chilean red wine

During the tasting, the Los Vascos Reserve red had a bouquet of red berries and cherries, with some brambles. The palate was black cherry fruits with very earthy notes.  The wine had a rustic mouth feel, and the finish had some herbs and a dry, chalky component.  The finish was quite long, and I enjoyed it very much.

On the second night, the nose was quite similar to the first night, however it seemed to become a tad more dark and rich. Additionally, there was a chocolate component that showed up on day two that wasn’t present on the first day.  The brambles were still noticeable, but they seemed a bit more integrated and not as prominent as the previous night. The palate of the Los Vascos Reserve became much more fine and silky, and the chalky finish was no where near as noticeable.  The wine opened up nicely, with dark cherry from the Cabernet Sauvignon integrating nicely with the spicey, zesty, earthy Carmenere and the fruit and pepper from the Syrah.

Josh Reynolds from the International Wine Cellars rated this an 89, with the following notes

“Bright ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers a sexy bouquet of ripe cherry, blackcurrant, fresh rose, tobacco and cedar. Suave, supple and sweet, with smooth red and dark berry flavors, gentle tannins and refreshing mineral bite on the close. Very sexy and drinkable now.”

I could continue to write about the flavors this wine, but you can get more from watching the video above. At $20, I will let you know that not only do I find this wine to be one to add to the shopping list, Lenn Thompson agrees with me and thinks the Los Vascos Reserve Chilean Red Wine is a “buy again” kind of wine.

Lets drink some Chilean organic wine – Pinot Noir from Cono Sur

Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

Pinot Noir from Chile? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Everyone knows Pinot Noir comes from … well, a lot of places. Which is why it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that Chile is putting Pinot on the table. While not it’s primary red wine, ranking 5th in hectars planted behind Cabernet Sauvignon (41k hectars), Merlot (13k hectars), Carmenere (7k hectars), and Syrah (3.5k hectars), I assure you that Chile is managing to put out some very enjoyable Pinot Noir, and at very reasonable prices.

I’ve already made the point that Chilean wines are offering great value. They are certainly producing good wines that, at their price point, rival wines from most every other country. I was fortunate enough to participate in an event with other wine bloggers, which allowed us to sit in on a video conference between the New York PR folks from Wines of Chile, and 8 Chilean wine makers in Chile.  Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine moderated the panel, asking questions on behalf of the bloggers, so we could learn a bit about the wine makers, and their wines. There was definitely some skepticism on behalf of the bloggers when it came time to try the Pinot Noir.

As you can see from my video, while I found it enjoyable, I mention another Chilean Pinot that I haven’t had the time to write up yet. I find the Morande Reserva offers just a bit more organic, earthy flavors and smoke, allowing the terrior show through. However, there are Pinots of all shapes and sizes, and a Pinot with nice round fruit is not unappreciated.

After the tasting, I corked/capped up the wines, and let them sit out at about 70 degrees until the next evening. Then, one by one I tasted each wine, comparing the 2nd day to the first. In some cases, the wines evolved in a beautiful way. In others, they held the same, or perhaps were better the first time. My video recaps my tasting notes from the first night, when I tweeted them with the #winesofchile hashtag. It also recaps the tasting notes I made from the 2nd night.

Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir 2008

Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir 2008

A few things I’d like to note about Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir before I recap some of the discussion had amongst the bloggers about this wine. First of all, Cono Sur, like Emiliana’s Natura Sauvignon Blanc, has a commitment to the environment. Their wine is certified organic by BCS Oeko Garantie GMBH Germany. They achieved Carbon Neutral status in terms of their delivery, their sustainable farming practices offsetting carbon emissions due to delivering their product.  More and more companies in agricultural arenas are doing this, and it’s likely going to be achieved by more and more wineries as concern for our environment increases.

The Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir hails from the Colchagua Valley in Chile.  It’s a cooler part of the valley, which offers ideal Pinot Noir growing conditions.  These grapes come from “68 Old Vines” section of the vineyard.  The name hails from the fact the vine were planted in 1968, and thus being over 40 years old gives them the Old Vines designation. The wine is aged 10 months in barrels, 1 month in stainless steel tanks. It has 13.7% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).

There were some detractors, who found the wine flat and a bit pedestrian. However, many of us found it to be quite enjoyable. Some of the bloggers thought that this was a very nice wine. Katie from Gonzogastronomy felt it was a “pleasure to drink a Pinot that wasn’t loaded with overripe fruit.” Robert Dwyer of Wellesley Wine Press said “the Cono Sur Pinot Noir was more varietally correct than almost any US made in the same price range.”  And Jeff from Good Grape said that “the Cono Sur Pinot is nice, too. $15 bucks, CA Pinot cant touch that at price point.”

After viewing this video, let me know what you think.  Are you going to give a Pinot Noir from Chile a shot?  Or are you going to stick with a French or US Pinot Noir? And if you aren’t going to venture out to Chile, why not? Take a moment to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think of Chilean Pinot Noir, the Wines of Chile in general, or anything else you’d like to offer.

Natura Sauvignon Blanc from Chile – an organically grown wine

Natura Sauvignon Blanc from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

There’s no doubt that I’ve been drinking a lot of wine from Chile lately. Well, on Wednesday May 20th, I was given the opportunity to not only drink some more, but virtually drink with with a gaggle of wine bloggers, and the wine makers themselves. The PR folks at Wines of Chile put together a great event where the winemakers met in Chile, and via video conference, were asked questions by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. During the event, the bloggers were tasting along with the winemakers and Michael, tweeting about it using the #winesofchile hashtag, and enjoying a good time with wine.

Natura Sauvignon Blanc

Natura Sauvignon Blanc

The first wine of the evening was the Natura Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Emiliana. This wine is from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, where it’s proximity to the ocean gives it great growing conditions to produce a very nice white wine.  Winemaker Antonio Bravo, who’s been with Emiliana since 2006, gave the bloggers a bit of background on the wines, and the wine making process. Of note was that this wine is made with Organically grown grapes, and that Emiliana has a commitment to being environmentally responsible and organic.  The wine label does indeed say it’s certified organic by IMO Switzerland, which I misspoke about during the video. Although Emiliana has a great website, I cant seem to find information on the NATURA line, which is under the Organico label from what I’ve been told. (Update 6/12, You can get information on the Natura line of organic wines online!)

The bouquet on this white wine is a mixture of orange and orange blossoms, showing citrus and subtle floral together. The citrus fruit was round and full, with some nice back end acidity.  There was definitely more acidity the first night I tasted this wine, but the second night still had nice balance. This Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t have the minerality and herbaceous notes that French and some New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs do, but that’s not a bad thing. Quite honestly, for an $11 wine, I would more than certainly give this wine a shot. I’d love to pair this white wine with some grilled chicken, a salad, or grilled fish.

Let me know what you think after you check out the video, and leave a comment below. I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts!

Wines from Chile are great VALUE wines

Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir

Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir

I was quite fortunate to participate in the first ever Wines of Chile blogger tasting event last night.  And while I was not as quick as John, who managed to get a post on the event this morning, I wanted to touch on one important thing about Chilean wine. Chile offers some very nice wine, and some unique varieties, like Carmenere, their signature grape. However, we need to keep in mind that what attracts many people to these wines is the value they offer.

During the tasting last night, moderator Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, took a question from one of the blogger participants. Paraphrasing, he said that the blogger thought the prices were too inexpensive. This set off some conversation that sounded like we would soon see price increases in the future. Katie Pizzuto from Gonzogastronomy said “exactly! Now they’re gonna hike up prices” after I had said “nonono .. we arent saying we want them more expensive. we’re saying Chile makes GREAT wines @ Great value #winesofchile” regarding Michael’s comment.  Further to that, Dave Honig commented that “Hey @mmwine I repeat, GREAT QPR, but only GOOD wine. ”

And that is the point that I want to make. While Chile is offering great QPR (Quality to Price ratio), the wines are good. They will perhaps one day be GREAT, and I firmly believe they will. However, I will also, quite honestly, say that if these wines were 30-50% more in price, no less double in price, I would probably find other wines to drink.  While I really enjoyed last night’s Cono Sur Pinot Noir, and I love Morande’s Pinot Noir at $15 and $12 respectively, I would probably pass on them if the were $25 or $30. Some of last nights wines were approaching the $30 range. And while I enjoyed them, and would recommend them, as well as drink them in the future, they were definitely starting to approach the top end of the QPR segment.

Now, please don’t think I am not a fan of Chilean wines. I sincerely am, and one of my TV segments on Daytime TV will feature Morande’s Pinot Noir as a great red for summer (or any time, honestly). I just feel it’s my duty to bound the rave reviews I, and apparently some of the other bloggers, gave to Chilean wines last night. They’re making good wines, and GREAT QPR wines.  That needs to be their focus, at least for now.

What do you think about Chilean wines, and QPR wines in general? I’d love to hear!

Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc 2008

th_sb_leyda1

There is no doubt that when the weather heats up, Robin & I reach for white wine more frequently than red. As luck would have it, the PR folks of Wine Of Chile sent me some samples of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines to try and talk about. This week we got to try the 2008 Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc from San Antonio, Chile.

Production of this white wine is limited to 1,380 cases, and is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Leyda Vineyards.  Undurraga’s Leyda Vineyards are located in the San Antonio Valley of Central Chile, approximately 9 miles from the Pacific ocean. Research suggested that this area would be suitable for cool-weather varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.  Given the proximity to the ocean, the South Pacific breezes and coastal summer fog lasting until midday, the climate in the Leyda Vineyards means longer ripening periods and crisper acidity for leaner, more food-friendly wines.

The color of the T.H Sauvignon blanc was a typical pale yellow. More yellow than straw, but less than a sun gold Chardonnay, for example. On the nose, there was nice citrus with a hint of green, such as grass.  There was definitely some grapefruit on the nose, and it gave off a nice, crisp bouquet. After some time, perhaps during the 2nd glass, the nose developed a bit of a melon note. I tasted this wine well over a week ago, and in the midst of posting this review, I went to the winery’s website for more detail. Interestingly, they describe the nose as “Enticingly fragrant, with aromas of ripe grapefruit, white peaches, fennel and blackcurrant leaves, sprinkled with subtle notes of green chili pepper”.  While I didn’t find the peaches, fennel or black currant leaves, I most certainly found the grapefruit and the green chili pepper.

Undurraga TH Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Undurraga TH Sauvignon Blanc 2008

On the palate, this crisp white wine had a very heavy mouth feel, and was quite fruit forward.  The mid palate was a bit uninspiring, and it lead to quite a tart finish. The acidity really wasn’t racy on the finish, and it seemed mostly round citrus fruit, finishing with a super-tart granny smith apple. With time, as the above mentioned melon comes out on the nose, the tart aspects of this Sauvignon Blanc really takes center state.  I see this wine as a summer sipper, especially if you’re a fan of citrus fruit and tart green apples. It’s quite fruit driven, and not a lot of acid.

While it’s definitely a different style of some other Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I’ve recently written about, I think it’s fairly nice. I believe I saw it retail online for $10-12, and at that price, it’s worth a try. If you like grapefruit and tart granny smith apples, this wine is right up your alley. And if you just like crisp, citrus fruit driven Sauvignon Blancs, then see if you can give a bottle of Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc a try.

As an aside, I know that I normally do vlog wine reviews, but this is going to be the start of a few regular wine blog posts. I’ve been swamped lately, and just haven’t been able to pull the camera out before I break into the vino! I must have tasted about 25 wines in the past 3 weeks, and written down a bevy of notes. Once things calm down, between work and getting Robin’s wine business off the ground, I’ll get back to making fun wine video reviews for you to enjoy.

Chilean Carmenere from Santa Carolina

Santa Carolina Carmenere Chile

Santa Carolina Carmenere Chile

It’s no secret that I am having a spring love affair. I’m loving wines from Chile and they’re loving me back!  I of course thank Rob Bralow from Wines of Chile for sending me 12 wines to review at my leisure and this wine is one of those wines. Rob made it clear that I was free to discuss whether or not I enjoyed the wines, or not blog about them at all. I appreciate his understanding that there is a chance some of the wines wouldn’t be to my liking. 

Now, I’ve mentioned before that while many people start out with easy drinking fruit forward red wines, I went for socks rockin’ Chilean Carmenere. I love the body, the intensity and the flavors. So, when I was given a bottle of 2007 Santa Carolina Carmenere Reserva, I was excited to dive into it.  I tried this wine three ways, before decanting, with some pasta, and after decanting. This wine is 85% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon according to the website, or 100% Carmenere according to the downloadable data sheet on the same site, and is aged for 9 months in 1 and 2 year old French and American oak barrels.

Right out of the bottle, the color in the glass was a ruby red on the edges, having a deep blood red in the center. The nose was extremely fragrant, and from 6 or so inches away from my nose, I was getting dried cranberry scents wafting up from the glass. Sampling the bouquet direct from the glass showed a little gamey, with dark red fruits covering something underneath that was trying to poke through.  It could have been spice, but I’m not yet sure.

Without decanting, the palate of the Santa Carolina Carmenere was dry and a little oaky, and there was not a lot of fruit forward. There was a good bit of smoke and spice, on the mid-palate and finish, but it was very short lived.   Tasting the wine with pasta, the palate shows a bit better.  There’s some fruit showing now, or the oak is making less of a showing. However, there’s definitely still some wood there, and it’s more like eating berries with a bit of the branches mixed in.

Now, I’m a proponent of decanting most, if not all red wine. Some, though very few in my experience, are fine “Pop and Pour”, where you just open and drink. So, after 40-50 minutes of decanting this red wine, I was curious to see what transformations occured. The nose grew a bit darker in terms of the berries, the gamey scent was gone, but the brambles were definitely showing in the bouquet. It was almost as if someone took a hunk of bark, and used it to mix a berry cocktail. The palate had opened up a little, showing a bit more fruit. Unfortunately this wine was still wielding the oak bat, and beating my mouth up a little. Some sour cherry came into the palate, and the wine had an overall medium mouth feel. If Yoda were talking about this red wine, he’d simply say “The Oak is strong with this one.”

Before I write off this wine, let me say that the oak wasn’t so overbearing it was undrinkable. Additionally, people LOVE oak nuances in their wine, and those people would probably love this wine. Finally, I feel this wine truly calls for some food to tame it’s wild ways. A bit of beef, or even some cheese, would probably be a good start. So, while not a glowing writeup, please remember that everyone’s palate is different, and you may absolutely LOVE this wine! The Santa Carolina Carmenere Reserva 2007 retails for about $11, so why not give it a try and let me know what you think.  Leave some comments.

Oh, and for the record, as I wrote this blog post, I drank an AMAZING Chilean Pinot Noir that I’ll write about soon. And no, it wasn’t a sample from my friend Rob Bralow!

WBW 56 – Kosher Wine review

Chardonnay Wine Review – Kosher Wines for Wine Blogging Wednesday from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

It’s time for another Wine Blogging Wednesday installment. This month’s topic comes from The Cork Dork, and he’s picked Kosher Wines, to coincide with month’s celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. For those of you who aren’t Jewish, please don’t turn away as these wines are not just Kosher, they’re pretty darned good. And with all of them coming in under $15, they’re pretty decent value wines, or good Quality to Price ratio (QPR) wines. And while Kosher wine may evoke thoughts of sickeningly sweet grape juice for some, I assure you none of these wines are of that caliber. The video, which had poor sound so please turn your speakers up, will have my tasting notes on the four wines. I tasted these wines prior to really doing in depth research on any of them. I was hoping to provide more information on each wine in the text part of the wine blog post itself. However, some information is lacking or non-existent, so please forgive me.  If I find reliable sources for information, I’ll amend the post.

Alfasi Chardonnay 2007

Alfasi Chardonnay 2007

I am not going to try and educate people on what it means to be Kosher. I will simply say it’s the dietary law that some people of Jewish faith observe. It includes “rules” about dairy and meat products not mixing at a meal, the proper slaughter of animals, and animals that should not be consumed. People of the Jewish religion can observe various levels of “keeping Kosher”, from a complete Kosher diet inside as well as outside the home, to keeping a Kosher home but not eating Kosher outside the home, to not observing at all. There is usually Rabbinical supervision over the processing of foods that are Kosher, including a blessing over the food. That’s about as deep as I care to delve into the subject, and I hope you understand.

The first kosher wine reviewed in the video was the 2007 Alfasi Chardonnay, from Maule Valley, Chile. I’ve been enjoying various Chilean wines recently, and was excited to find a Kosher wine from Chile. Unfortunately, similar to another blog’s review of an Alfasi wine, I find very little information about the wine or the producing winery online. It’s bottled by Carta Vieja, but they do not list Alfasi as one of the wines they offer on their website. This wine is Mevushal, which according to the importer of wine, means it’s fit for even the most Orthodox wine lover. The Alfasi Chardonnay had a very fruit forward palate, with “Tree Fruits” such as pear and apple, though there was certainly some tropical fruits, pineapple perhaps, present. There was a good bit of acid on the back end, and I believe that’s where the citrus flavor I found came from. While certainly a Chardonnay, it reminded me, very much so, of a Sauvignon Blanc with the citrus and acid on the palate.  It’s a nice wine, definitely worth a shot at $11 retail. Another good value wine from Chile!

Ben Ami Chardonnay 2006

Ben Ami Chardonnay 2006

The second kosher wine for the Wine Blogging Wednesday review that I tasted was Ben ami Chardonnay, 2006, from Galil, Israel. The wine was made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Another disappointment when it came to searching for producer information. Nothing shows up about the winery. While I was able to find various stores selling the wine, and less than the $13 I paid in a local store, with shipping, it’ll net out to about the same price.  You may notice that in the video, I was quite underwhelmed by this wine.  The bouquet was uninviting, almost unpleasant and really didn’t start the tasting off on the right foot. This wine had plenty of tropical fruit on the palate, something I don’t normally look for in a Chardonnay. It had a heavy mouth feel, with that buttery quality to it. However, to me, it’s a pretty boring wine. The finish left me wanting something more, and I was disappointed.  That being said, when we talk about Kosher wines, and the fact that this is under $14, I would be able to bring it somewhere without feeling like I brought white grape juice. It’s definitely an attempt at a serious, structured wine, just not one that is to my palate. However, it’s inexpensive enough to give a try and make your own opinions of.

Baron Herzog Chardonnay 2007

Baron Herzog Chardonnay 2007

This brings us to our third Kosher chardonnay of the evening, The Baron Herzog 2006 Chardonnay.  Thankfully, there is a website for Baron Herzog Wine Cellars, with information about their 2006 Chardonnay.  I had thought there was perhaps some Viognier blended into the wine to give it the floral component I noted in the video. However, there is no mention of blending of grapes on the website.  That leads me to believe it’s 100% Chardonnay, though I am not positive. The producer website says the wine could age well for two to four years, and given the fact that this retails for $13, I may put a bottle in the cellar to open in 2011 and re-review. This wine was certainly my favorite of the Kosher chardonnay wines, as the bouquet was quite inviting and aromatic, with a very interesting and enjoyable palate.  The Herzog Wine Cellar website has some very interesting information on it, about the history of the winery, their sustainable wine growing efforts, and even a nice, detailed education on what Kosher wine is. A nice wine with fruit and floral notes, definitely a wine I’d serve during a summer backyard party, Kosher or not. Of course, my tasting notes are in the video, but I’ll say that if you’re looking for a fruit forward, almost floral summer white, give the Baron Herzog Chardonnay a try. I think you’ll find that it’s an interesting wine that offers pretty good quality for the price.

While that wraps up the three Kosher wines I tasted for the Wine Blogging Wednesday installment, it does not complete our world tour. While the mission of finding a well made, enjoyable Kosher wine was successful, certainly in the Alfasi and Baron Herzog wines, how did they stack up to a non-kosher wine?  Trying to stay within the price range, I selected a South African Chardonnay, the Graham Beck 2007.

Graham Beck Chardonnay 2007

Graham Beck Chardonnay 2007

Hailing from Robertson, Cape, South Africa, this Chardonnay has a lot to offer. Definitely my preference of the tasting, it certainly was a high QPR wine. With it’s darker color, approaching a light golden hue, the nose on this chard is typical butter and vanilla. While a portion, about 30% of the wine, is fermented in various stages of French Oak, the balance is in stainless steel with malolactic fermentation not encouraged.  This allows some of the butter and vanilla from the oak to show, without making it over oaky or masking the fruit, and offering crisp flavors in conjunction to the buttery nose, and palate.  There’s also a nice finish with some acid on it, that balances it all very well, and is a nice finish to a nice wine.  This wine is going to be splendid on its own, or great with a nice chicken dish, summer salad selection, and even fish of various types. I wouldn’t hesitate to break out a case of this at my next summer bash, and just might!

The Graham Beck Wines website is also chock full of interesting information. Like many wineries, they’re taking a responsible stance towards conservation and preservation of nature and the lands they use.  They talk about their biodiversity drive, and what they’re doing to try and help the environment while still making quality wines. While this is very noteworthy, as is the various technological methods Graham Beck uses to ensure the quality of their wines is up to their high standards, I saw nothing about being a “green” or “organic” operation.

Thank you for visiting, and please let me know what you think of the video, and the blog post itself. I really threw all of this together within the last hour of my day, and apologize for the audio not being so hot, and the lack of techincal data on the wines. Let me know how I can improve my posts in the future, to make your wine experiences better!

Great Summer White Wine – Mar Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Mar de Casablanca 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Mar de Casablanca 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Walking into the house, Robin’s first comment was not “Hi Honey” or even “Welcome home”. Her first comment of the evening was “This wine is great.”  Backing up an hour, Robin called me while I was still at work, asking which wine she should open for the evening. I told her to grab any one of the 10 bottles of Chilean wine still in our wine cellar from the PR folks at “Wines of Chile”. She apparently picked the Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Vina Mar, and was quite glad that she did.

As you my have already noticed, I am definitely a fan of Chilean wines, and believe they offer great value for the price. Last week I did a video wine review of Caliterra Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, also from Chile, and have written about Chilean wines a few other times. This white wine also hails from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, as the previous wines I reviewed did, with the Mar de Casablanca (Or Vina Mar, depending on where you look on the web) winery is 11 miles from the Pacific ocean and 25 miles from the port of Valporaiso. The ocean influence through the valley creates a huge concentration of fruit in the wine, which in my opinion is quite pleasant.

The vinification of the  Mar Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (2008) was 30 days in stainless steel vats, with 2% of the wine aged in a mixture of French and American oak for 4 months. The label says the ABV is 14%, though the winery fact sheet lists it at 13.5% Alcohol by Volume. Either way, the alcohol doesn’t show through at all.  All you will find in the bottle is a crisp, clean wine that goes down nicely.

Mar Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Mar Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Though it doesn’t show well against the background, the color of this wine is nearly clear. I had first poured it against a white table cloth, and honestly thought Robin had finished the bottle and refilled it with water. However, the nose was so fragrant, I knew she hadn’t.  There were tremendous amounts of grapefruit on the nose, at the peak of ripeness. Think sweet grapefruit, perhaps with just a hint of sugar sprinkled on top. Surround that grapefruit by flowers, subtle flowers, and you get the nose of this wine. Truly aromatic and magnificent. I could only hope it taste as beautiful as it smelled.

The first sip of this wine was a powerful as Robin’s welcome home statement earlier. Tremendously fruit forward, with ripe melon and light citrus notes, this wine danced in my mouth as gracefully as Fred Astaire in all of his movies. The transition to the finish was smooth, and the acid was moderate, but perfect for the wine. The finish went on forever, with passion fruit lingering on long past the last swallow.

We paired this wine with a “Smoked Chicken and Pasta” dish that had a subtle sauce that contained a little bit of tomato basil cream sauce. While I wouldn’t say it was a perfect pair, it was quite pleasant. This wine is fantastic on its own, a great summer sipper. It would also pair nicely with a cheese plate, or a host of appetizers. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve shrimp or other seafood with it either. Really, it’s pretty versatile.  Order this with a nice salad, and you’ll have a complete meal.

While I wouldn’t say it’s a cheap wine, at $16 suggested retail it’s an affordable, reasonable white wine that shouldn’t be passed by. I think that in the $14-18 price range, this wine stands out nicely. I still have some other samples of Chilean wines to taste and review, but this is one that will definitely make an appearance at a backyard party this summer!