jamie goode's wine blog: Some Chilean reds that taste Chilean

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some Chilean reds that taste Chilean

Why is it Chilean reds taste so Chilean? I can almost always spot them a mile off in blind tastings. It's not that they're bad; it's just that they are recognizably Chilean. It's a combination of ripe blackcurranty fruit (seemingly independent of grape variety) with a sweet, pastille-like character and a hint of rubbery greenness under the sweetness.

Here are three I have open at the moment. Of all of them, the Anakena is least Chilean. The Cantavida Carmenere is less expensive, and works pretty well - I had a quick dig and found out that this is also made by Anakena! [Quick off-topic note: also trying another Chilean Viognier, the Casa Silva Lolol 2007, and it's brilliant. That's the second brilliant Chilean Viognier I've had of late. Is this going to be Chile's hot variety?]

Dona Dominga Andes Vineyard Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Cochagua, Chile
Sweet blackcurrant pastille nose with some creamy notes. The palate shows pure, sweet blackcurrant fruit with a creamy edge and a hint of herbiness. A little rubbery on the finish. 85/100 (£9.99 Waitrose, Oddbins)

Anakena Ona Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Carmenere 2006 Rapel, Chile
Deep coloured and seductive, with sweet blackcurrant fruit as well as notes of cloves, tar and rubber. Smooth textured and quite pure with some spicy structure. A good effort. 88/100 (£9.99 Oddbins)

Cantavida Carmenere 2007 Rapel, Chile
Unoaked, this is a delicious example of the Carmenere grape variety - one that I'm keen on. It shows sweet blackcurrant fruit with a lovely gravelly, earthy, autumnal edge to it and some smooth but grainy tannins. This is the sort of easy drinking wine that Chile does really well, but there's also a hint of seriousness here. 87/100 (£6.99 Oddbins)

Labels: ,


At 10:43 AM, Blogger Anton Moiseenko said...

Dear Jamie,

And what's your opinion about Odfjell Vineyards wines? Have you ever tried them?

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

I really like the wines - visited last year, and report will be up soon on the main site

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho hum... nothing here that's going to make me drink a Chilean wine. Don't think I've had one for a year or two now. I guess Jamie probably agrees, but is too diplomatic to say... and then there's those trips :-)

At 2:33 AM, Blogger Claude said...

I agree that cassis aroma is a charachter of many Chilean reds. From my experience, it is related to the Cabernet Franc family of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère). Also, it is related to thiol compounds, because I made experiment with copper and it kills this aroma, the same it does with Sauvignon Blanc varietal aromas. Now. Why is it so intense in Chilean wines made with these grapes? The only clear distinction of Chilean wines is the fact that 95% of the vineyard is grown without grafting on non vitis vinifera rootstocks. Is it the reason? I don't know. Did you compared wines made out of grafted and non grafted vines when you went to Chile? Just an hypothesis.

At 3:04 AM, Blogger mrfroopy said...

Well, I can usually tell a Russian River Valley wine a mile off.. a certain quality.. some call it terroir perhaps

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Wine Club Insider said...

I agree with Claude in regards to the "cassis" aroma. I've noticed it myself in the great majority of the Chilean wines I've tried. Those aren't the only ones I've noticed this phenomenon in regards to, but it's been pronounced enough in wines of that region that I've noticed it more, so to speak. Not that is bothers me. If anything it's interesting. Perhaps there’s something to Claude’s theory as to what that’s all about. I’ll have to do some “tasting research” of my own and see if I agree.

This post reminds me that I haven't actually tried any new Chilean wines in a very long time, although I have had something of an on again/off again love affair with Argentinian wines from time to time. I run a wine club blog and wine club review website myself, and I of course have my favorite varietals, so most of my exploration is done through some of the wine clubs I find and review for wineclubguide.com. I'll have to sign up for one that revolves around Chilean wines in the near future perhaps.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger New World said...

you mention Viognier as a potential success story for Chile - are you aware of the fine Viognier being produced in Virginia? I strongly recommend you try some.

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous CarmenereWineGuru said...

Have you tried the Cantavida Carmenere? There is a website specifically dedicated to Carmenere which can be viewed at www.justcarmenere.com They have hundreds of reviews ONLY on Carmenere and recomendations which could come in handy.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home