VERAMONTE RESERVA
RED BLEND 2012
Central Valley
Simply
delicious.
This wine
is a perfect
example of
the whole
being more
important
than the
parts; full of fruit but not tutti-
frutti. Just enough structure
to make it food-ready. Superb
value. SRP: $12
HACIENDA ARAUCANO
“CLOS DE LOLOL” 2009
Lolol Valley
Impressivley structured and
elegant, reflecting French roots
(Francois Lutron); aromas of
jam and tobacco, then very
round in the mouth with tannin
appearing in the balanced
finish. Refined, complex.
Blend is 38% Carmenere, 28%
Cabernet Sauvignon, 20%
Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc.
SRP: $24
MONTGRAS “QUATRO” 2011
Colchagua Valley
Juicy without being overripe,
smooth but not soft, full-
flavored but not heavy, this
blend of Cabernet Sauvignon,
Carmenère, Malbec and Syrah
has a dressy-casual feel. Open
for dinner…or for a party. Nice
red fruit from start to finish.
SRP: $15
PRIMUS “THE BLEND” 2010
Colchagua Valley
Plenty of
plum fruit
and just a
kiss of oak
here. At
once fresh
and rich;
harmonious,
with velvety
tannins
peeking
through in the finish. Blend is
39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28%
Carmenere, 23% Syrah, 10%
Merlot. SRP: $19.99
LOS VASCOS “GRANDE
RESERVE” 2010
Colchagua Valley
At 75% Cabernet Sauvignon,
this blend’s character leans
toward Bordeaux. Cherry,
plum and blackberry mix with
cedar, pencil and spice notes.
Elegant, balanced; excellent
bang for the buck. SRP: $20
EMILIANA “COYAM” 2010
Colchagua Valley
This generous wine displays its
Syrah (38%) prominently; also
has Carmenere, Merlot, and
dollops of other grapes. Stylisti-
cally dark in fruit, but bright and
vibrant. Vanilla, pepper and
floral notes provide complexity.
Fine structure. SRP: $37
SANTA RITA “TRIPLE C” 2007
Maipo Valley
Very Bordeaux-
like, with a
balance of
earthiness
and fruit, this
wine is 65%
Cabernet Franc,
30% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 5%
Carmenere;
each grape
is vinified and
aged separately
then blended just before
bottling. Develops beautifully in
the glass. SRP: $38
NEYEN “ESPIRITU DE
APALTA” 2008
Colchagua Valley
Big and beautiful, this
Carmenere-Cabernet blend
has ample fruit, oak, tannins
and length, with herbal and to-
bacco notes adding complexity
to concentrated red fruits. Sur-
prisingly youthful impression
bodes well for aging as well.
SRP: $50
TASTING NOTES:
CHILE
Styles reach across a broad spectrum.
Fortunately, and impressively, though,
value is the glue that holds the diversity
together. Wines at the budget end, such
as Viña San Pedro’s Epica and Casillero
del Diablo’s new Winemaker’s Blend are
smooth, juicy and easygoing. Jumping up
in price toward $20, the wines show more
structure and intensity. And toward $40
and up, Chilean red blends are big, serious
and complex. The pricing is in synch with
the wines’ character—and in most cases rep-
resent excellent value compared to similarly
priced blends from California and Europe.
Chile is clearly in the midst of a learn-
ing phase with respect to red blends. Little
is being taking for granted, and chances are
being taken. For example, Montes—who
made their first Bordeaux-style “M” from
the 1996 vintage—is going Rhône with a
new wine under their Outer Limits label.
Matías Barros, marketing manager for the
winery, says “CGM,” a Carignan-Grenache-
Mourvèdre, is the product of extreme high-
density plantings at the highest elevations
in Colchagua’s acclaimed Apalta sub-zone.
“The three grapes each add something,”
he notes, “and the blend was born of play-
ing with them. Carignan is the elegant
nose, Grenache the pure fruit, Mourvèdre
the backbone.”
Especially at higher price points, efforts
are being made to express both quality and
a sense of place. Emiliana’s “Coyam,”
now in its tenth vintage and hailing
from a vineyard fresh off Biodynamic
certification, is an example of how blends
are works in progress. Winemaker Noelia
Orts explains: “Over the years, Coyam has
changed as we came to better know our
vineyard—the special plots, the appropriate
management for each variety like pruning,
leaf thinning, green harvest, sun exposure,
etc., the precise moment to pick the grapes.
We taste lots of berries to decide when
they are ready. And of course each year
Coyam has different grape percentages
and the varieties can even change. There is
no recipe.”
Takenasawhole,theupswinginChilean
red blends is itself best viewed as a blend—
of experience and novelty. Americans can
look forward to a steady flow in vintages
to come, as Chilean red blends represent
some of the most interesting wines in the
Southern hemisphere.
n
Rodrigo Soto, chief winemaker at
Huneeus Vintners
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