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.
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.