Mark Lyle, group marketing and com-
munications director of Banfi Vintners,
importers of Emiliana, thinks of Cab-
ernet as a “gateway varietal” for Chile.
“Chilean wines have evolved to the point
where they have not only dramatically
changed the way they are perceived, but
have strongly influenced the way the con-
sumer and trade perceive all wines today,”
he says. “At $11, Emiliana’s Natura range
offers quality usually associated with wines
at double the price. Today’s consumer
recognizes these high-QPR wines, and
seeks them out.”
Finding its
Place
If there is a catch in the story of modern-
day Chilean Cabernet, perhaps it is
because circumstances are keeping it from
achieving full recognition on-premise.
Malbec has become the no-brainer South
American glass pour, making it easy for
beverage directors to shrug off Chilean
Cab. Case in point, among the seven
Passion Food Hospitality restaurants in
Washington, DC, only the Latin-themed
Ceiba carries Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon,
and yet each of the seven features
Malbec by the glass.
However, the group’s beverage director,
Scott Clime, is bullish on Chile in general,
calling the wines “broadly food-friendly
and excellent values at every price point,”
which in turn makes them a staff favorite
to recommend with confidence. The Chil-
ean Cabernets and Cab blends Clime lists
at Ceiba—from Concha y Toro, Cousiño-
Macul, Lapostolle and Montes—earn high
marks in his estimation for being “very con-
sistent over years.”
It’s exactly that blend of consistency,
quality and value that has put Chilean
Cabernets in a solid position for continued
growth in the U.S., playing the mature tor-
toise to Argentina’s young hare.
n
Cousiño-Macul has one
of Chile’s most revered
Cabernet legacies; their
Antiguas Reserva was
first made in 1927.
CARMEN
“GOLD RESERVE” 2009
Maipo Valley
Highly perfumed nose includes
sandalwood, spice, cedar.
Resonant
palate with
a solid core
of black
fruit and a
good acid
kick. Con-
centrated and focused; bottled
unfiltered, adding complexity.
Very provocative, interest-
ing Cabernet that shows the
special nature of Alto Maipo.
SRP: $60
CARMEN
“GRAN RESERVA” 2010
Maipo Alto
Harmonious nose of berries,
cassis and a touch of cedar
foreshadow
the palate,
where the
red fruit
intensifies,
excellent
varietal
character,
framed by judicious oak and
fine tannins. SRP: $18
LE DIX DE
LOS VASCOS 2010
Colchagua Valley
The icon wine of Los Vascos
epitomizes Bordeaux-like style
and elegance. The wine seems
to unfold gently, with the fruit
persistent
but never
overpow-
ering—a
sign of its
French
ownership.
Modest oak and fine tannins
are well integrated—adding
character but not distracting.
The long, long finish says this
is the kind of wine that de-
serves a fine meal and would
return the favor. SRP: $65
MONTGRAS RESERVA 2012
Colchagua Valley
Round and smooth with
distinctive notes of mocha
and black cherry; this is an
easygoing Cab
befitting its
modest
price tag.
Easy to
like, and
its lack of
sharp edges
make it very versatile at the
table. SRP: $12
SANTA CAROLINA
“RESERVA DE FAMILIA”
2010
Maipo Valley
Sourced from Alto Maipo, this
Reserva is full-bodied yet fairly
nimble in structure, making
it easy to
enjoy on
its own
but hefty
enough for
bold food.
Aromas in-
clude cedar,
cassis, chocolate; ripe fruit and
a touch of herbs on the palate.
Lovely finish.
SRP: $25
SANTA RITA
RESERVA 2010
Maipo Valley
Surprisingly aromatic, with
black fruit and herbs. Medium-
bodied and
bright, full
of flavor;
finishes
with just-
right tannin.
Some
vanilla
complexity
but no
overt oak. Very pure, almost
refreshing. SRP: $12
SANTA RITA “MEDALLA
REAL” GRAN RESERVA
2009
Maipo Valley
Intense and assertive, this
almost inky Cabernet is the
whole
package:
big fruit
and big oak
and lots of
New World
style held
together by
excellent
balance.
Built for the long haul but al-
ready able to wow. SRP: $20
VENTISQUERO “GREY”
SINGLE BLOCK,
TRINIDAD VINEYARD 2010
Maipo Valley
Big ripe red fruit nose leads
directly to a hedonistic palate.
Tremendous
fruit, plus
delicate
touches of
bell pepper,
chocolate
and wood.
Smooth
tannins gain
some grip in
the long finish. Evolves beauti-
fully in the glass. SRP: $25
CABS
WORTH HAILING:
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