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Video wine review of Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere – a red wine from Chile

Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere

Errazuriz Single Vineyard 2007 Carmenere

If you’ve read any of my wine blog posts, you’ll know that Camenere was one of the first red wines I had ever had. Therefore, it’s always a pleasure to try a Camenere from a producer I haven’t had in the past. During the Wines of Chile blogger event, we had the pleasure of trying 8 wines from Chile while video conferenced in with the wine makers to get their insights on their wines, Chile, and wine in general. I have reviewed several of those wines already, and have a few more coming. You’ll find my thoughts and tasting notes on the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere in the video review below. Please be kind when watching it, I was in a hotel room after a full day of Oracle training, and pretty wiped out.

Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere 2007 hails from the Aconcagua Valley of Chile, right around San Felipe, north of Santiago. The Aconcagua river flows through the valley, which provides “melt water” for much needed irrigation in the area.  While wine grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere have grown in the valley since the mid 19th Century, there has been renewed interest in the area since the 1990s. Experiements have proven that Aconcagua valley vineyards located closer to the Pacific can provide great grapes, and great wines. Personally, I’m on the look out for some of these wines, especially Syrah which is pointed out in the Wines of Chile brochure that was sent to the bloggers for reference.

Now, it’s no secret that I think wines from Chile offer great value, bringing to us nice, or even fantastic wines, at a great price. I’ve probably written about more Chilean wine on this blog than any other country. At $26 retail, the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere is not an everyday budget wine for many people. However, I think it’s definitely a wine to give a try, if for no other reason than to see what Carmenere is about, and have a nice frame of reference for other producers.

As the video notes, the first night this wine was definitely a lot more fruit driven and didn’t have some of the characteristics I love about Carmenere. I felt it was lacking the earthy flavors with a black pepper and spice driven backbone that screams STEAK! I found it very “new worldy”. However, I actually REALLY liked it the first night, finding the wine fun and enjoyable. The second night I think it was “done”, with too much oxygen breaking down the wine, as notes of cherry cough syrup were dominant, which were not what I found the first night. I would like very much to get another bottle and see how it opens over time, because I believe I didn’t really experience the full potential of this wine in the situation I had to taste it.

Check out the video, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Chilean Red Wine Review – Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Carmenere video wine review

Santa Carolina 2007 Reserva de Familia Carmenere from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

As you may have read in earlier posts like the Los Vascos Reserva review, I was given the pleasure to participate a blogger event put on by the PR folks from the Wines of Chile back in May. Several bloggers participated in a video conference between eight wine makers in Chile and the PR folks, moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. In this fourth installment of my Wines of Chile video conference writeup, we talk about a great red wine made with the Carmenere grape.

While originally from the Medoc region of Bordeaux, the grape is rarely found there any longer. Instead, most Carmenere comes from Chile, and it’s their 3rd most planted red grape, behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I love carmenere, a typically earthy and peppery red wine that when done right, is great alone or with food. I pair Carmenere with a nice grilled steak, but it’ll go well with a variety of roasted and grilled meats.

I’ve mentioned the value wines I see coming from Chile many times, and believe the Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Carmenere is worth every bit of its $15 SRP. Made with 100% carmenere, the wine, considered in their “Gran Reserva” range, is aged at least 10 months in oak barrels, mostly new. Additionally, the wines age in the bottle at least 4 months, which the wine maker believes helps “ensure the evolution of the complex aromas and flavours”.  Adding some punch to this $15 wine is the 91 point rating it received from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in the May 2009 issue. The one thing I was not able to verify is that while they are “Carbon Neutral” with their delivery, I can not confirm if Santa Carolina makes organic wines or not. Unlike the Cono Sur wines, it did not list Organically Farmed on the bottle.

Now, I’ve had Santa Carolina wines before, and my first impression was they were overly oaked and not to my palate. You’ll see in the video that while I may have thought this when I originally tasted the wine, the second tasting the next night completely changed my opinion.  Watch the video, and let me know what you think. Not just of the video, but of Carmenere, wines from Chile, or Santa Carolina Wines.

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!