LOS VASCOS SAUVIGNON
BLANC 2011
Casablanca Valley
Bright and
vibrant,
almost to the
point of being
effervescent.
Lemony nose
and green
apple flavors
reiterate the
firm acidity,
as does the cleansing finsh.
Calls out for food. SRP: $13.99
SANTA RITA RESERVA
SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011
Casablanca Valley
Moderately
vegetal nose
(asparagus) is
inviting. Palate
delivers tart cit-
rus fruit with a
touch of stone
fruit complex-
ity. Quite well-
balanced and intriguing. Could
swing well from the dinner table
to a party. SRP: $12.99
HACIENDA ARAUCANO
RESERVA SAUVIGNON
BLANC 2012
Lolol Valley
Reminiscent
of white
Bordeaux
in its
roundness,
a product of
3-5 months on the lees. Acidity
tucks nicely within a frame of
tropical-leaning fruit. Distinctive
savory quality. SRP: $13
CASA SILVA
‘COOL COAST’
SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012
Colchagua Valley
From a newly developed
property, this wine aims high
and delivers. Fine pineapple
aroma and an impressive edge
of minerality on the palate,
complementing citrus fruit.
Quite long and elegant.
SRP: $22
MONTGRAS RESERVA
SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012
San Antonio Valley
One of the
fleshier,
fuller-
bodied
Sauv
Blancs (again
a result of
extended time on lees), with
a mouth-filling texture. Fruit
straddles citrus and melon;
acidity buoys the lingering
finish. SRP: $12.99
CONO SUR ORGANIC
SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012
San Antonio Valley
Exceptionally clean and pure,
with textbook varietal character.
Lovely balance of herbs,
mineral notes and grapefruit.
Light in body, but with real zest.
Ideal aperitif or picnic wine.
SRP: $14
LEYDA CLASSIC
SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012
Leyda Valley
Very expressive
and likable
style, with
bright citrus
and passion
fruit sharing
palate time
with mineral
and light green notes. Good
structure carries through into a
beautiful, juicy finish. SRP: $12
RITUAL SAUVIGNON
BLANC 2011
Leyda Valley
This wine, from the Veramonte
estate, was barrel fermented
and spent five months in
new French oak. The result
is relatively big and plush; fig
notes mingle
with ripe
tropical and
citrus fruit;
hint of flowers.
Complex.
SRP: $16.99
TASTING NOTES:
CHILE
LEFT:
Many Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in
Chile are quite young; Casa Silva’s Paredones
Estate has produced only three vintages so far
of the winery’s “Cool Coast” bottling.
RIGHT:
Wine regions up and down the
long, narrow country benefit from the Pacific
Ocean’s cooling breezes. Pictured here: the
Maipo River Valley.
breezes. Lolol Valley, a sub-region of Colcha-
gua, runs east-west, resulting in a beneficent
funneling effect.
Perhaps the most important factor in
assessing the state of Sauvignon Blanc,
viticulturally, in Chile is the fact that
growers and wineries are still in the
discovery stage. The success of cool-climate
Sauvignon Blancs, many from vines less
than a decade old, is literally inspiring the
search for yet new temperate pockets. And
this “cool” discovery is being embraced by
new and generations-old wineries alike. To
wit, Casa Silva’s “Cool Coast” bottling,
made at a winery founded in 1892, is only
in its third vintage.
Tasting is
Believing
At a tasting of 20 current-release Sauvi-
gnon Blancs arranged at the Wines of
Chile offices in New York, I came away
with a strong impression that these wines
share a family resemblance, best character-
ized as clean and refreshing. No doubt,
firm acidity is at the core of this kinship,
but there was more to it than simply tang.
The acidity seems to be less of a flavor in
and of itself (as I see happen typically in
New Zealand examples), and more of a
flavor carrier. Indeed, there was a sense of
family, but not of sameness.
In practically every wine, I found multi-
note aromas and flavors; the zesty structure
was a foundation. Moreover, the flavors
seemed well-concentrated, enabling the
wines to deliver flavor above their medium-
weight body. And with prices generally
under $20, the wines represented excellent
value. This ability to over-deliver on both
flavor intensity and price, combined with
the relative youth of the Sauvignon Blanc
sub-industry in Chile, bodes very well for
the future. Simply put, as American tastes
continue to develop and seek out zesty, fla-
vorful Sauvignon Blanc, Chile is in a per-
fect position to satisfy our thirst.
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