Wines of Chile: Exploring Chilean Red Blends



By Kori ~ October 19th, 2010.

Last week, we had the pleasure to take part in an online Chilean Red Blends tasting hosted by Wines of Chile. Eight Chilean winemakers/winery representatives convened in Chile to talk about their wines via videoconference to 50 wine bloggers across the United States. “Chile is red grapes paradise,” said Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer who moderated from New York City. As a result, a wide variety of grapes are grown in Chile and the winemakers enjoy experimenting with new blends.

The presenting winemakers/winery representatives included:

They answered questions and shared personal stories on top of discussing their own wines and their love of blending in general. Most of the bloggers, including me, were tweeting during the event. If you’d like to review the stream, check out #ChileBlends.

In addition to tasting wines, I thoroughly enjoy it when I have the opportunity to visit with winemakers and kick the dirt in the vineyards. While my first choice would be to visit in person, I am thankful for the technology that allowed me (and my fellow bloggers) to visit with winemakers on another continent. One of these days I hope to be able to visit Chile so that I can complete the experience and kick the dirt in the vineyards, as well as meet some of these talented winemakers in person.

My favorite wine of the tasting was the 2008 Estampa Gold Assemblage Carmenere Blend from the Colchagua Valley. It had a gorgeous bouquet and good complexity. A close second and third were the 2008 Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol from the Colchagua Valley and the 2007 Casas del Bosque Gran Estate Selection Private Reserve from the Casablanca Valley. As you will see from the tasting notes below, the Estampa and Hacienda Araucano also deliver the most bang for your buck with QPR ratings of 5 (out of 5). While we tasted through all eight wines without food during the online event, Wines of Chile had sent a few recipes that they thought would pair well with the wines. So after the tasting, we paired our three favorite wines from the tasting with a dinner of Beef Empanadas and Wild Mushroom, Merken, and Red Wine Risotto. The empanadas and risotto were delicious, and all three wines really shined with food.

If you have not had any Chilean Red Blends, I encourage you to give them a try.

Here are the wines we tasted, listed in my personal order of preference:

2008 Estampa Gold Assemblage Carmenere Blend (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 57% Carmenere, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep, ruby red. Very nice bouquet with red plums, red cherries, and spice aromas on the nose. More spice and red cherry along with pepper, tobacco, and leather on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long finish. Well-balanced. Has a lot going on. Young, should get even better with age.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $22

2008 Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 31% Syrah, 29% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Carmenere. Medium to deep, ruby red. Very aromatic with floral notes, spice, red and black fruits on the nose. Black cherry, blackberry, floral notes, and a hint of smoked meats come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $23

2007 Casas del Bosque Gran Estate Selection Private Reserve (Casablanca Valley, Chile): 61% Syrah, 26% Merlot, and 13% Pinot Noir. Deep, dark purplish red. Aromatic with black olives, black fruits, floral notes, and spice aromas that lead to black cherry, blueberry, chocolate, and spice flavors. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $50

2006 De Martino Single Vineyard Old Bush Vines “Las Cruces” (Cachapoal Valley, Chile): 66% Malbec and 34% Carmenere. Deep, bright ruby red in color. Red and black fruits, earth, herbal notes, and a hint of barnyard on the nose. Raspberry, black cherry, black plum, earth, licorice, and herbal notes come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $45

2006 Maquis Lien (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with spice and floral notes. Fruit-forward with red fruit, raspberry, red cherry, cinnamon, and floral flavors. Medium-bodied and lively with soft tannins and a long finish. A little bit thin.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19

2005 Valdivieso Eclat (Maule Valley, Chile): 56% Carignan, 24% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah. Medium to deep, ruby red. Nose is a bit tight at first then opens into red fruit, mineral, and medicinal aromas. Red fruits, raspberry, rhubarb, spice, and Red Vines on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins and a long, slightly bitter finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $27

2007 Emiliana Coyam (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 38% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Mourvedre. Deep, dark purplish red in color. Nice nose with aromas of black pepper, black fruits, and a spice rack. More black fruits and spice on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins. A bit hollow on the mid-palate with a medium, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $29

2008 Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Carmenere. Deep, ruby red. Barnyard, black fruits, blackcurrant, and eucalyptus aromas lead to flavors of earth, mineral, barnyard, mint, and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high, drying tannins and a long, bitter finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $15

Full Disclosure: We received these wines as samples.


Filed under: Chilean Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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