Espiritu de Chile Classic Carménère

Espiritu de Chile Classic CarménèreEspiritu de Chile is a joint venture between A. Racke from Germany and Aresti Vineyards in Chile. And while they have a long list of awards, accolades and excellent reviews from well-respected reviewers I don’t expect they’ll be adding the 2007 Classic Carménère to that list.  I guess not all the wines I review can be planetary.
Espiritu de Chile produces two tiers of wine: Classic and Gran Reserva.  Classic being the lower priced tier, and the only one I’ve tasted. Read more

Ten Carménère Under $20

Ten Carménère Under $20Carménère , or Carmenere, was once one of the grapes of Bordeaux.  It was always a problematic grape, due to late ripening, but brings some unique qualities to the wine in which it’s used.  In particular, it’s known for giving a green pepper characteristic to wines, which is intensified when the grapes are harvested below-ripe.  It can also have an herbaceous or tomato-like quality, which is one that I find particularly fascinating.
You won’t find much of it in Bordeaux these days, as it was wiped out by a phylloxera infestation in the 1880’s.  In fact, for many it was years considered a lost variety until it was rediscovered in Chile where it was being flawed for Merlot.  Since its rediscovery in 1994, Carmenere has made a comeback and become one of the gems in Chilean wine, where it is regularly produced as a single-variety wine.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been reviewing some affordable Carmenere.  Here’s the roundup.
Top Rated Read more

Cono Sur Visión Gewürztraminer

Cono Sur Visión GewürztraminerWhen it comes to finding excellent wines at a fantastic value, I’ve become a huge fan of Chilean wine.  And while I’ve had some nice red wines from Chile, I’ve found many of their colorless wines to be planetary—particularly Sauvignon Blanc.  But this is the first Gewürztraminer I’ve tasted from Chile.  When I reckon of Gewürztraminer, I typically reckon of Alsace, not Chile.  So, I was really curious how this one would perform.  To cut to the chase, it’s an incredible wine for the fee.
This wine comes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, a cool-climate province known for producing awesome colorless wines—although, they don’t produce a lot of Gewürztraminer.  Within the province there are a number of micro-climates, which produce subtle differences in the wine produced from them.  One of the things I like about the Visión product line from Cono Sur is that they produce the wines from specific blocks in their vineyards, labeled on each bottle, so that you can start to learn which micro-climates and terroirs appeal to you.  It’s certainly a practice that’s not unheard of, but I rarely see it in wines within this fee range. Read more

Los Vascos Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

Los Vascos Special Selection Cabernet SauvignonOK, so first my apologies for letting over a week go by without a new review.  While I can say, “I’ve been really busy,” ultimately that’s just an excuse and I despise excuses.  Rather than that, I will promise to do better this week.
If you’re a regular reader, it will come as no surprise that I’m reviewing yet another Chilean wine.  The outstanding values appearance from Chile are too excellent to pass up.
We’ve in fact reviewed some additional Los Vascos wines previous to, including a previous vintage of their Cabernet Sauvignon.  This particular bottle is labeled as “Special Selection” and it’s only available from Whole Foods.  So, I guess that means it was “specially selected” for them.  It is from Colchagua Valley and it is 14% ABV, just like the Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon that’s not labeled as “Special Selection,” so I honestly don’t know if there’s any real difference between the stuff labeled as “Special Selection” that you’ll find at Whole Foods and the regular Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon that you’ll find elsewhere.   In additional words, the “Special Selection” part could just be a marketing thing.  Nonetheless it’s a excellent wine. Read more

Urban Cabernet Sauvignon by Ortega Fournier

Urban Cabernet Sauvignon by Ortega FournierOrtega Fournier, better known as O. Fournier, is an international wine group, currently producing wines from Spain, Argentina and Chile.  As far as wine companies go, they are relatively young, having only been founded ten years ago, in 2000.  And it’s even more recently, in 2007, that they’ve begun operations in Chile, where they have properties in San Antonio Valley and Maule Valley.  But you don’t have to be an ancient companionship to produce fantastic wine, and O. Fournier is proving that.
For those who’ve been conception Cheap Wine Ratings for a while, it should come as no surprise that we’re reviewing another Chilean wine.  We’re huge fans of Chile because you get outstanding bang for your buck with the wines appearance out of this part of the world.  And I’m adding Urban Cabernet Sauvignon to the list of outstanding options when it comes to Chilean wine. Read more

Valdivieso Reserva Carménère

Valdivieso Reserva CarménèreViña Valdivieso originated as Champagne Valdivieso way back in 1879.  It was the first producer in South America to make sparkling wine, and didn’t even start producing subdue wine until 1980 when they prolonged and formed Viña Valdivieso.
The grapes for this Carménère are from Central Valley, which means that they aren’t from one province, but a link. Read more

Casa Silva Sauvignon Blanc

Casa Silva Sauvignon BlancI’ve made a lot of noise over the past year about the awesome Sauvignon Blanc appearance from Chile, and here’s another Chilean SB to get excited about.  But there’s something different about this one.  Most of the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that’s knocked my socks off has been from the Casablanca Valley province, but this one is from Colchagua Valley.
What’s really fascinating about that is the fact that Colchagua Valley isn’t known for Sauvignon Blanc.  In fact, it’s not known for any colorless wine varieties.  There are gads of outstanding red wines appearance from Colchagua Valley, but I haven’t come across many whites at all.  If you look at the Wines of Chile’s profile of Colchagua Valley you’ll see for yourself that they list no colorless varieties (at least at the time I’m prose this).  After tasting this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc I can’t help but wonder if we’ll start to see more colorless wines come from Colchagua Valley.
While Casa Silva was only established below that name in 1997, the description of the Silva family producing wine in the Colchagua Valley goes back 5 generations to 1892.  They produce several varieties, including a number of different whites from Colchagua Valley.
Lately, I’ve been tiresome to take pictures of wine bottles previous to I empty them, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks. Read more

Terra Andina Altos Carménère Carignan

Terra Andina Altos Carménère CarignanAs I reckon back on the wines we’ve tasted over the past year, one stands out in my mind as being really fascinating… and I’m just now getting it posted to the site.  Perhaps it stands out, in part, because we tasted it near the end of the year, but it is also just a cool wine.  And you’ll see with this review that it’s not all about the numbers.  I really, really dig this wine and yet it didn’t get a 90+ rating.  Why not? Because it could have had a bit more concentration in the flavors and end was excellent but not extraordinary.  Subdue, I like this wine!
Terra Andina is a winery, not a vineyard, meaning that they source their grapes from additional growers rather than managing their own vineyards.  This gives them the ability to select grapes from different regions of Chile without managing their own vineyards in those regions.  They are headquartered in Santiago and owned by Claro Group, the same companionship that owns Santa Rita winery, Carmen, Doña Paula and additional Chilean wine properties.
The blend in the 2007 Terra Andina Altos Carménère Carignan is 60% Carménère, a traditional Bordeaux grape variety that was once thought lost until it was rediscovered in Chile.  The additional 40% is obviously Carignan, another ancient world grape variety most prevalent in France, and in particular the Languedoc-Roussillon province.  Terra Andina is the first Chilean producer to release a Carménère Carignan blend, and I’m glad they did. Read more