Posts Tagged ‘chile’

Sauvignon Blanc is In

July 6, 2010

When it comes to wine, nothing says summer like Sauvignon Blanc. Well, there is Pinot Grigio, Unoaked Chardonnay, Tocai, Moschofilero, and all those delicious whites. But talking about Sauvignon Blanc, what a wonderful grape it is. Regardless where the wine is made, it always welcomes your nose with a brushtroke, an aromatic draft of vegetable nature, be it freshly cut grass, rue, lemongrass, gooseberry or a myriad other herbs. Properly made it delivers on that promise, lightning up your palate with shiny acidity and more or less fruit, again, depending on the origin. Some make your eyes tear with citric, limey quality; others are apt at imparting fully ripened apples, pears and peaches, while others offer subtle -or blunt- tropical flavors like guava, banana, passion or even dragon fruit.

More minerally versions, where terroir is highlighted and fruit -though firm- is more subdued, come from the Loire Valley, in the heart of France. Sancerre -right guess- but not the only apellation in the area where you will get delicious Sauv Blanc.  Try Chateau de Sancerre, Pascal Jolivet, Levin. A little less mineral and also riding an deliciously acidic wave, Northern Italy can be home to lovely Sauvignon Blanc. One bottle of Bastianich B will send you looking for more good renditions from the top of the boot-shaped country.

There’s no need to say much about New Zealand’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, not much that haven’t been said already. Perhaps the most popular appellation for Sauvignon Blanc these days, the region’s wines are easy to drink, with a purity of fruit that is seldom found elsewhere. A Kiwi winemaker once told me that the high level of aseptique technique developed in the farm and dairy industries was behind this. Apparently, when New Zealand farmers lost some of their international markets due to competition, they redirected their skills at the wine industry. True or not, memorable whites come from the land of tongue-show-off warriors, unidentifiable national flag and bad soccer. Try the spark-studded  acidity of the Matua’s Paretai. Or the savory backdrop of the Wither Hills Rarangi. Or Jackson’s Stich. Not to mention the well known Kim Crawford, Scott or Villa Maria,plus all kind of  wines by names of critter and small mammals pissing on gooseberry bushes or monkeying around bays. Whoa, they sure  are taking after their Australian cousins when it comes to label originality.

Chile does a great job too. Their Sauvignon Blancs are second to none, except to Sancerre and Marlborough, and Pouilly Fume. And…just kidding.  Casas del Bosque is a gem of a finding at 17 dollars. Firm fruit, impeccable acidity (Impeccable. Im starting to sound like Bobby Parker) and 90 WE points make my point. Brilliant. Veramonte and Errazuriz make truly good stuff under 15 dollars. They will shine any night at any party.

Malbec comes next. Er, I meant to say, Argentina. Who would’ve thought they can make anything other than red? Well, think again. Mapema (the only thing going against this delicious wine is its name. And its price @ $21) is a big surprise. Ripe fruit weaved into the firm acidic frame, this Sauvingon Blanc is a sign of better whites to come from Mendoza. And from further north in the country. Paula is another solid Sauv Blanc, leaner on the fruit and with remarkable, kiwi-esque acidity. Trophee winner Pascual Toso, after delighting us with Cab Sauvs and Malbecs, makes a pretty decent SauvBlanc for 13 dollars. And a solid rose, although, that is another matter.

How to finish this without a mention of California? With a touch of oak, Grgich makes a simply beautiful Fumee Blanc. Beautiful, memorable, remarkable. The similarly lightly oaked Supery comes close. And for those with deeper pockets, don’t let the summer go by without trying the superb Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc. We’ll taste vicariously through you.



La Minga Red Blend, Outstanding Value

June 15, 2009

Exclusive to Everything Wine, La Minga is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.minga red Medium bodied and smooth, this wine is a real bargain. Red fruit, acidity and alcohol enjoy a balance that is rarely found in a budget wine. Soft aftertaste, easy drinking and just perfect for a week day or a party.

Product: La Minga

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Vintage: 2008

Winery: Sur Andino

Origin: Apoquindo, Chile

Alcohol: 13.0%

Price: 10.99 (Everything Wine)

Grassy Sauvignon Blanc by Errazuriz

June 10, 2009

The invasion of drinks appropriate to this premature summer, which promises to be scorching in mid July, continues. From the Casablanca Valley, Chile’s powerhouse of white wine, comes this aromatic Sauvignon Blanc by the always reliable Errazuriz winery. Intense nose of sweet grass and gooseberry precedes a medium body with integrated acidity, refreshing and tongue-tingling. Flavors of green apple and lime reverberate in a medium finish for this good value summer sipper.

Product: Sauvignon Blanc

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc

Vintage: 2008

Winery: Errazuriz

Origin: Casablanca Valley, Chile

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: 13.99 (Everything Wine)

Good Pinot Noir Without Breaking the Piggy-Bank

June 10, 2009

The cool evenings of the Limarí Valley in central Chile provide an excellent setting for growing Pinot Noir. tabaliTabalí takes advantage of this terroir to give us an elegant Pinot for the money. The nose is classic with strawberry, floral and light herbaceous tones. Tannin and acidity in check with the fruity, earthy and slightly jammy medium body, leading to the finish, which has a bit of cloves and is just a tad too alcoholic (mind that this quality of Pinot, coming from Burgundy would be $30-35). In its price range, Tabalí performs more than satisfactorily against popular Pinots from New Zealand, namely Mudhouse and Oyster Bay.

Product: Tabali

Variety: Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2007


Origin: Limarí Valley, Chile

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: 24.99 (Everything Wine)

Equus Carmenere

May 30, 2009

equus carmenereA Carmenere with an atypical nose by Viña Haras de Pirque (viña, meaning vineyard, pronounced “veenya”). If the name of the product is indication of any quality, then they got it right, as this Carmenere, like a nervous equine, comes with a 15% alcohol kick. The wine is deep purple, inky. On the very pungent nose there is spice, red cherry, herbaceous tones and smoked bacon. Medium-plus body, vegetal and white pepper flavors accompany the dark fruit of the palate. Soft tannins and a finish with good persistence. I have tried other Carmenere varietal wines that are perfect to sip on their own, smooth and velvety. This one will surely be better appreciated with barbequed meats.

Alcohol Percentage: 15.0%

Product: Equus

Variety: Carmenere

Vintage: 2007

Winery: Viña Haras de Pirque

Origin: Chile

Alcohol: 15.0%

Price: 14.99 (Everything Wine)